Fresh aromatic basil leaves add flavor to dishes such as salads, stews or pasta dishes. Basil is a popular herb for home gardens and is prominent at farmer's markets. The roots can grow back on the herbs when the stems are trimmed. Harvested basil leaves must be stored properly because the refrigerator crisper drawer can cause the herbs to have a slimy texture and it can alter the texture and flavor. Storing the basil roots in a vase with clean water helps to keep them fresh and flavorful.
Things You'll Need
Short vase or jar
Rinse off any excess dirt from the roots.
Place the basil into a short vase or jar filled with 2 inches of water. Store the jar with the basil away from direct sunlight.
Change the water daily or every other day to keep the basil fresh. The fresh basil may continue to grow roots that you can transplant outdoors or grow indoors in a pot.
Store the basil for longer than two days by covering the jar with a plastic bag. Cut the ends of the stems to allow the basil to absorb water more easily. This will help prolong the shelf life of the basil. Place the jar in the refrigerator.
Cut the basil stems above the set of small leaves that grow under a set of two larger leaves if you harvest your own. Cut above the set of leaves to allow the smaller leaves to grow into branches so that you have more fresh basil leaves to harvest later. When properly stored, fresh basil will keep up to four days.
Avoid washing the basil leaves until you are ready to prepare them.