For those who garden, I’m sure you’ve heard you should always harvest herbs in the morning after the dew has dried? For those of us who do not garden, and just use herbs – how often do we just stick ‘em in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until we use them?
In a study done a few years ago at Michigan State University scientists set out to determine the shelf life of fresh basil picked at various times and stored at various temperatures. They put fresh harvested basil in perforated plastic bags and then observed how many days it took for it to obviously deteriorate.
- Basil stored at 59 degrees F lasted an average of 12. 5 days compared to just 3.2 days at 41 degrees, the temperature of most home refrigerators. They also found that basil harvested at 6 p.m. lasted nearly twice as long as that picked at 6 a.m.
If you’re not a gardener, then you may not have a choice of when the basil was harvested. You do have a choice of the temperature it’s stored at. Remember basil stores best and longest at around 59 degrees.