Tuesday, July 26, 2016

CUT BASIL TURNING BLACK

Harvested a bunch of basil, it's growing like a weed!  Beautiful green plants, beautiful large leaves...but I wrapped it in damp paper towel, brought it back into down, put it in the fridge and...

Cut basil turning brown/black
...the next day it was all black and brown?  I am guessing this is like oxidation that happens with avocados but not sure now to prevent it?  We thought keeping them in water or wet would prevent it.  But when we have purchased fresh basil at the store, it's cut up and packaged and just as bright green as the day it was picked.  I was thinking of quick blanching it next time I harvest?

Any suggestions?


23 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

I cut basil the other day and its still green, perhaps it was the wrapping it in a damp towel, I just popped mine in container with a lid .

Anonymous said...

When I want to use basil fresh I pick it the day I use it (but it lives where I do). Otherwise, I pick it, wash and dry, freeze in a tray, transfer to a bag and keep in the freezer till I need it. Geo

kymber said...

1st Man - we only use as much basil as we need per day because it's just outside. try putting your cuttings into a mason jar filled with water and just leave it on the table or counter back at the apartment. that works well for other herbs so i think it should work with basil.

then when i "harvest" basil to dry/freeze/salt for the winter, i make sure to harvest it on a dry day and then dry/freeze/salt accordingly.

sending much love and hope this will work! your friend,
kymber

Colleen said...

To keep basil fresh, trim the stems and place them in a glass or jar of water, just like cut flowers. Loosely cover it with a plastic bag and leave it on the counter. Although certain herbs, such as parsley and cilantro, can be stored this way in the fridge, basil does better at room temperature.

Storing it in the refrigerator turns it black.

try not to chop fresh basil, tear it by hand into a dish or a salad... doesn't seem to blacken as quickly

Your basil is turning black because it is oxidiizing, same as with an apple or potato.

Even by tearing the leaves the exposed new surfaces will go black because they are exposed to the air around them--same as with a fresh cut apple.

You can't prevent this but you can slow it down, here's an old trick:

Coat/drizzle the basil leaves with oil, now stack them up and roll them up a'la cigarette style, now slice them up. The knife blade becomes coated with oil and as it cuts, it coats the fresh cut with oil. The oil provides a barrier so the air can't get at the cut and turn it black.

I myself have never tried this but here is a link showing step by step instructions on storing fresh basil: http://www.wikihow.com/Store-Fresh-Basil






Anonymous said...

The way to keep basil fresh is to wash it and dry it off completely. Then put it in an air tight container with a damp cloth. That will keep it for up to a week in the refrigerator. You must have the basil dry.

Practical Parsimony said...

Don't wash basil until you are ready to use it. There are many vegetables and fruits that need to be stored unwashed.

At the market I like unwashed vegetables. There is one guy who washes everything. His produce does not last as long as the "dirty" vegetables. Come on, people. This stuff grows in dirt. Leave it alone.

You did not ask, but here is how I freeze basil. Forget the water and basil in ice cube trays. I put washed basil in a quart freezer bag, mash it to get all the air out and throw it in the freezer. After several days, just crush the bag around and the basil will be chopped. Easy peasy.

Another thing, if the basil is chopped for a dish. The stacking, rolling and cutting technique is called chiffonade. I never cut anything green that is to be eaten raw with a metal knife. I use a plastic knife. I have two. One is a cutesy thing to cut watermelon. The other is from Tupperware, expressly for cutting lettuce so it won't turn brown. Usually, I tear lettuce, so this works if you want to cut a head in half. I only use it for lettuce and other greens that might turn brown.

I dry basil or lettuce by washing it and placing it on a terry kitchen towel, patting it a bit. Then, I gather all four corners and sling it round and round outside. It is like a salad spinner only more risky if you let go of one of the corners of the dish towel.

Practical Parsimony said...

By the way, I keep adding basil to the original freezer bag, crushing it as I freeze it. That way, the bag holds an enormous amount of basil. The taste remains like fresh basil

Karren said...

I turn mine into pesto and freeze it. Just stuff the food processor with the leaves, minus the coarse stems, add some parmesan cheese, walnuts or pine nuts, and olive oil. Process until finely chopped and pour into small plastic bags. Moosh all the air out, flatten the bag and freeze. When you want some, unzip the bag and break off a lump in whatever size you need, and drop it into your pan. Yumm stuff all year long.

beachdaddy said...

What they said about storing it with wet leaves is indeed the problem. I often have to buy it in big plastic clamshells with vent holes... I keep it that way, but with a fresh paper towel to absorb any moisture. If you have a "cooler" ... like old days... colder than in-house air but not as cold as fridge that's good ... unless your outside air is hot like we have in AZ!! If you keep your apartment AC going most of the time, it would be good just trimmed stems in a glass of water ... tops and leaves left au naturale...

jaz@octoberfarm said...

don't blanch it! moisture is the enemy. pick it and wrap it tightly in plastic and keep it in the vegetable bin.

Monsoon Matriarch said...

If I need to pick and it's not for immediate use, I put the leaves only (no stems) in olive oil, whether cut or uncut. Then it's into the fridge if they'll be used in the next day, or the freezer if not. If freezing, I put in mini-muffin paper cups in a tupperware. Each cup has about a tablespoon of basil. For use in cooking, I just pop the right amount from the freezer into the pot and it's very close to fresh.

Paula said...

Since you're picking it at the farm and then transporting it home, treat it like fresh flowers. Pull off the lower leaves and put it in a container of water. you can leave it on the counter when you get home and use it as needed. You'll even notice that it will sprout roots and you can plant it for a window garden at your apartment. I make pesto with my bumper crop of basil but don't always have enough for a full recipe or the time to process it. I remove the stems and blanch it quickly and throw in an ice bath. Pat it dry and freeze. I pull out what I need to make pesto when there's enough basil and/or time. Good luck. Paula

1st Man said...

Hmm, never thought the damp paper towel may have caused it. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Great idea for doing it that way, I never thought about freezing it that way. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

That's a good idea, God knows i have a ton of mason jars floating around ha. Thanks for the tips!!

1st Man said...

Awesome, thanks for all this info. I like the idea of cutting it like that with the oil. And it must be the washing and keeping it in the fridge. Thank you!!

1st Man said...

Yep I had it wet. Thanks!!

1st Man said...

Thanks, another great comment. Love the comment about "it grows in dirt!" ha, so very true. Thanks for all the tips, will implement them! And awesome to freeze it like that. Cool!!

1st Man said...

I did make some pesto but just enough to use it all up. I'll have to work on more and like the idea of breaking off a lump. Thanks!

1st Man said...

Glass of water, I will try that. Yep the apt stays pretty cool. And it's unbearably hot AND humid outside. Thanks for the info!!!

1st Man said...

Oh, thanks, I just figured a quick blanch would work. But I'm thinking the fact that I washed it and kept it wet. Will try a new approach!

1st Man said...

Wow, neat idea about the mini muffin tins! Great, thank you!!

1st Man said...

Thanks Paula, that's what I'm doing is transporting it back. It sounds like I need to put it in water and your analogy of cut flowers is appropriate and descriptive. Again, thank you so much!