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  • Writer's pictureKatie Hoffman

Be Good to Your Basil! Keepin' it Fresh and Fragrant for Longer.

Basil. Saturday morning at 8 AM.

It's a question that comes in over email and social media during the peak of basil season: "My basil looked and smelled beautiful when it arrived on Thursday in my market haul. It's only been 24 hours, and now it looks terrible--brown and crinkly. What happened?"

Great question! We ask a question in return: "Did you happen to put your basil in the refrigerator"?

So far, the answer has always been, "yes."

Two just-picked sprigs of basil.

I know. If it's ever been in your garden, you think basil is tough. It's a vigorous grower. Late July, August, and September are its glory time, and there's basil galore. (If you're a FLF&LR member, then you have noticed this on our pages!) We celebrate the basil bounty by getting our hands on as much as we can and making it into pesto for use during the winter. And then there are the Caprese salads. Yes--there are mountains of basil this time of year, and we're happy about that!

Mountains of basil at Crumptown Farm

Plus, basil stands up to the August and September heat that withers other stuff. It doesn't really care if it gets a little dry. In the garden, it gets tall and lush and bushy and gorgeous. And oh, the smell of it! It takes abuse from scissors and clippers--the more you cut basil plant back, the more it bushes out and makes beautiful, fragrant new branches. Kinda magical, really.

Sometimes, in the right light and conditions, your sprig will even grow roots, and you'll have a little plant that you can pot up and keep in your windowsill over the winter!

All of this makes you think that basil could stand up to just about anything, right? I mean, it even holds its own with the pungent flavor of garlic!

It is a pretty sturdy herb indeed. But we all have our vulnerabilities, and cold is basil's kryptonite. It just wilts and withers when the temperature gets too low--and putting it in the fridge will ruin it for sure.

Both basil sprigs in the picture above were picked on Friday morning around 8 AM. The one on the left sat out on the counter for 24 hours, and the one on the right went into the fridge. Give that poor, sad, right-hand sprig 24 more hours in the fridge and it will be almost totally brown--useless for cooking.

So be good to your basil! Treat it like a beautiful bouquet, and keep it on your kitchen counter in water. Change the water every couple of days for maximum freshness. That beautiful basil will keep for at least a week that way, especially since our producers send it to you as fresh as fresh can be.

You can buy fresh basil and make your own pesto, or you can buy your pesto homemade from scratch on our market. To see what's available, go to If you're already a member, you can just plug "basil" into the search bar and you'll go right to the sources.

If you're not a member yet, then what are you waiting for? Click on the "Join" button and become part of the Fall Line Farms and Local Roots community. You'll enjoy the freshest in local foods, delivered to a convenient pickup spot near you on Thursday afternoon. And that wonderful food will taste even better when you know that you're supporting a non-profit organization with a mission of preserving small farms and farmlands in Central Virginia!

Thank you for supporting our non-profit online local food market. Your membership and your orders matter!


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