Basil is a herb which is very fragrant and peppery in taste. This herb belongs to the mint, thyme and oregano family and is best used in Italian cooking. Not just that, it also a sacred Indian herb known as tulsi. Since tulsi is believed to provide a number of health benefits, it is included in many Indian recipes, particularly in immunity boosting drinks. But it's sweet basil that is mostly used for cooking. Basil has nutritious qualities including vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, iron, and folate, unlike any other herb. As much as we love using basil, keeping its leaves fresh for a longer period is not easy. If you wish to keep your basil leaves fresh or increase their shelf life, follow the given methods below.
How To Wash & Clean Basil Leaves?
You can use basil leaves with stems or even just the leaves. Once you pluck them, keep them under runny water and wash them properly so that no dust particles are left. Now take a clean kitchen towel and dry the basil leaves. Keep aside on a fresh dry cloth and let the basil leaves dry naturally for 10-15 minutes in room temperature.
5 Ways To Store Basil Leaves To Increase Shelf Life:
1. Hydrate It
Water is what keeps us alive and plants too. Herbs with long stems can easily be kept fresh with this technique. First, you need to chop off the roots. Next is washing it nicely and clean drying with a kitchen towel. Now, add water in a jar or glass. Make sure not to fill water up to brim and keep some space. Put the basil stem in the water and cover the top of basil plant with plastic bag. Keep this in room temperature and change the water twice a week.
2. Zip Lock It
Zip lock bags can easily be found in any store. A zip lock bag helps in storing food for a longer duration and also maintains its moisture. First, remove the basil leaves from the stem. Further wash and clean them using the above-mentioned method. Wrap the leaves in a paper towel and keep them inside the zip lock bag. Don't forget to store it in the fridge.
3. Sun Dry It
With this method, you can increase its shelf life for months or even a year. All you have to do is wash and clean dry the basil leaves and place them on a thin sheet or tray. Keep the leaves in sunlight and let it naturally dry for some days, until it's crisp. Once that is done, you can grind it and make a fine powder of basil leaves. It can be used for cooking and seasoning food later.
4. Make Ice Cubes
Basil cubes can be easily used in making curries and fresh drinks. This can be done simply at home. First, rinse the leaves and blanch them in a pot of boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds. Now put them in cold water. Once done, dry properly and make a puree of in food processor with some olive oil. Pour in ice cube try and keep it in refrigerator. Use the basil cubes as per your requirement.
5. Basil Juice
Basil juice is a healthy drink and comes with several health benefits. To make this at home, wash and dry fresh basil leaves, add them in a food processer and make a slurry of it. Extract the juice in a glass jar or bottle with some sugar and shake it well. Now keep it in refrigerator. You can have it later with fresh lemon juice.
Hope you liked these easy methods to store basil leaves at home. Do let us know in the comment section.