Basil, being the most common ingredient to add robust flavor, often gets spoiled within a few days. One may always wonder how long they could last as fresh as day one.
If basil leaves are appropriately stored in an airtight container and then refrigerated, it can last about two weeks. In case you leave it on the countertop, fresh basil leaves will get spoiled within 1-2 days.
In contrast, dried basil will last for years. Many people freeze the basil leaves and consume them for months without much difference in taste or texture.
Basil leaves get easily spoiled and turn black in color. If you use spoiled basil leaves, then they will not have the required flavor and may give your dish an unpleasant flavor.
Don’t worry; today, I will take you through the complete guide about basil leaves and share some tricks to store them for extended periods.
What's In The Post
How Long Does Basil Last?
Basil leaves turn black and lose their aroma when they get spoiled. If you have fresh basil leaves, you can keep them fresh at room temperature for a day or two.
On the same note, if you simply cut the basil leaves and store them in water at room temperature, you can use them for 2-3 days. Refrigerated basil leaves stay fresh mostly for a week.
People often dry the basil leaves and store them in airtight containers that may also last for a year. Dried basil leaves have a more intense flavor, but with time, they also lose their robust flavor, so it is always advised to store them properly.
|Storage Method||Lasts For|
|At room temperature||1 – 2 days|
How to store basil leaves to make them last longer?
Storing basil leaves without proper knowledge can be tricky, and you may end up spoiling them most of the time. Let me help you with this issue very briefly.
1. Keep the leaves in the refrigerator
When you get basil leaves, simply wash them nicely and dry them with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Now, on a clean paper towel, wrap the basil leaves and store them in an airtight container or plastic bag adequately sealed.
2. Store the leaves at room temperature
Storing basil leaves at room temperature may not be so favorable but wait as you can follow simple steps and keep basil leaves fresh at room temperature as well.
Make a basil bouquet, meaning simply take the basil leaves and put them in a glass filled with water. You can change the water after 1-2 days; like this, your basil leaves will stay fresh for a good time.
You can always keep an indoor basil plant and simply use the leaves from the pot whenever required. You don’t need any extra effort to maintain the basil plant (just some essential maintenance).
3. Freeze the leaves
I won’t highly recommend freezing basil leaves, but it is another good way to store them for an extended period. Simply blanch the leaves in warm water for 10 seconds and then add them to ice water.
Now pat dry, wrap the leaves in the paper tower or plastic ziplock and place it in the freezer. You can also finely chop the basil leaves and add olive oil (that will help the leaves in not turn black in the freezer).
4. Dry the leaves
We all love using dried spices as they are more robust and flavorful. You can do the same with basil leaves. One easy way is to get dried basil from the market. Another way that is my favorite is to dry the leaves at home and preserve it for later use.
This way, I make sure that I use good quality leaves and that there is no adulteration.
You can air-dry the leaves and then crush them finely. Make sure to store them in an airtight container. You can also use a microwave or an oven to dry them. Simple;y bake the leaves for a few hours without letting them burn.
5. Make a paste
You can prepare a paste of basil leaves by adding vegetable oil and storing them in the refrigerator. This method is helpful when you need basil leaves to make pesto or sauces. If looking for garnishing, this may not be a great idea to store the basil leaves.
How to Know if the basil leaves are spoiled?
As we have already discussed, basil leaves can easily get spoiled if not correctly stored. Let’s see the signs of spoiled basil leaves so that the next time you encounter one, you don’t eat them.
If you see any change in the color of the leaves, they will likely go bad. Generally, the green leaves turn black or brownish, which means they are losing their pigmentation along with their taste and aroma.
So if you see any discoloration or black spots, then throw the leaves as they are of no use.
Adding basil leaves adds a terrific aroma to the dish, whether by cooking the leaves or adding them as a garnisher. Basils have an intense fragrance; if you miss it, throw the leaves as they are probably bad.
Even dried basil leaves have a robust aroma. Simply crush the dried leaves, and if you smell something similar to an intense and herbal aroma, add them to your dish.
We all know how flavorful basil leaves are, and if you don’t find the same taste, don’t bother to add the same to your dish. The weak flavors of basil leaves mean they are going bad and won’t work well enough to enhance your dish’s flavor.
What if I Consume expired dried basil leaves?
Many of us find it convenient to buy a bottle of dried basil from the nearby store as it is very handy to use. But they also come with an expiration date.
Now one thing to note is that the expiration date is only to alert you that there are chances the leaves have lost their aroma and flavor and are not fit to use. However, you can simply follow the above steps and check for yourself if the dried leaves have gone bad or not.
If there is no loss of aromatic smell or discoloration, you can also consume the expired dried basil.
What happens If I consume bad basil leaves?
Consuming bad basil leaves can make you sick. First, basil leaves are used to add flavor, but spoiled leaves may add a bad taste to your dish. Secondly, eating spoiled basil leaves can cause stomach issues like diarrhea or vomiting.
Probably you won’t like the flavor and will avoid them for the rest of your life. So I would always recommend using only fresh basil leaves.
Can I grow a Basil Plant and consume it directly from the pot at home?
Yes, absolutely, you can grow your own basil plant, and as already said, they are not high-maintenance plants. Make sure to keep them in the required conditions and temperature, and the plant will bear fresh and green leaves that are totally safe to consume.
You don’t have to worry about storing them; you can have regular access. As basil is a summer plant, it might not survive in cold temperatures. Basil plants love moisture, so make sure you provide enough. You can water them weekly.
Keeping them in sunlight is a great way. They require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight, and then they will flourish with great green leaves.
As we are at the end of the conversion, I am sure you have noted down the best way to store and be aware of the lifespan of basil leaves.
If making pesto, you can always store and use a batch for a month or so. Basil is a multi-purpose herb, and one can always use them in their own unique way.
I hope you enjoyed learning about these little leaves with great aroma and robust flavor. I will be back with more information. Until then, chop some basil leaves and garnish them on your pasta.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do basil leaves stay fresh?
Basil leaves can last for about two weeks if stored in a refrigerator in an airtight container. In case you leave it on the countertop, fresh basil leaves will get spoiled within 1-2 days. Whereas dried basil will last years if stored in a cool and dry place.
Can we eat bad basil leaves?
It is not recommended to consume bad basil leaves as they will not have any great aroma and flavor. You may also upset your stomach and have vomiting or diarrhea.
Is freezing basil leaves a good idea?
One can choose to freeze the basil leaves for future uses so they can last longer. However, due to the cold temperature, you may see some discoloration or green colors turning black. It is always advised to consume basil leaves as fresh as you can.