How to Buy and Store Basil

Basil can be purchased from your local supermarket, fresh or dried. Fresh basil sold already cut will keep for a few days if refrigerated and wrapped in a damp paper towel to help keep it fresh. Fresh basil is much more aromatic and flavorful than dried basil and gives a completely different taste to your dishes. Always try to use fresh basil when possible, although you may have to plan your meals and buy the fresh herb accordingly; however, dry basil will also work.

You might even have the option of buying frozen basil at specialty grocery stores. Frozen basil cubes (resembling a mini-ice cube tray) are flavorful, convenient and retain much of their original nutritive value. You can find out more about frozen chopped basil and where to buy it at

Alternatively, if you have grown the basil yourself you can easily freeze it to preserve it for future use. The method outlined below ensures the fresh taste and nutritional benefits of fresh basil without having to go to the market:

  1. Pluck the basil leaves you want to preserve, rinse them under cold water and pat dry.
  2. Cut the basil as you would for your recipes. Don't forget to remove the stems and old leaves.
  3. Place ½ - 1 teaspoon of chopped basil into each section of a clean dry ice cube tray.
  4. Fill the tray with just enough cold water to cover the basil (allowing room
    for expansion) and freeze.
  5. When your recipe calls for it, use a basil ice cube for that fresh basil!

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