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No Refrigeration Needed

Most of us who keep and cook with fresh herbs have, at one time or another, pulled a damp, slimy, grayish black mass of something that was once basil from the refrigerator. With one simple trick, that will never happen again.

We discussed how to store and keep fresh herbs fresh previously in "Keeping it Fresh." This post is specifically about one of our very favorite fresh herbs (basil) and how to keep it absolutely vibrant in your kitchen.
Fresh Basil
The basil in the photo above looks as fresh as if it were picked today. It wasn't; not at all. It was picked over a week ago and it should last another week if we let it. But we probably won't. We'll use it before then and enjoy it tremendously.

When we sell basil at the Canyon Farmers Market, we cut the stems, wrap the stem ends in paper toweling, and keep the stems damp in just an inch or so of water. The reason we do that is so, when customers get home with their basil, it's easy to keep it fresh. Very easy.

That's the trick to keeping basil fresh until it's wanted--read the last paragraph above again if you missed it. The trick is just to treat basil like you would cut flowers.

Stem ends cut and wrapped
Just place fresh basil (stems freshly cut) in a little water--just enough to keep the stems damp but keep the leaves dry--and put it out on the countertop, shelf, or window sill. Keep it out of drafts (too drying) and away from direct sun or extreme heat. No refrigeration needed!

We really like to wrap the stem ends in a little paper towelling. It helps keep them evenly moist, keeps things bundled nicely, and helps keep the leaves out of the water.

That's it. Simple.

Not only is it a beautiful thing to see in the kitchen, you'll love the aroma. Basil incense. Enjoy.