Is this basil okay to eat?
December 16, 2010 3:10 PM   Subscribe

Is my basil okay even if it's now a different color?

I bought basil ten or twelve days ago, intending to make pesto. That has not happened yet. The basil has started to turn a brownish-purple color in streaks and spots, and the leaves are dry.

Is this basil still okay to cook with? (Probably not the pesto -- I'll use fresh basil for that -- but other stuff, like basil chicken.) It still seems to have a pleasant smell -- I just want to make sure this discoloration isn't the result of, say, deadly fungus.
posted by thehandsomecamel to Food & Drink (7 answers total)
 
It won't hurt you, but it is going off. So it's not going to make you sick, but it's not going to give you its most delicious potential, either.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:14 PM on December 16, 2010


The color change is from oxidation, which isn't dangerous. In future, remember that you can freeze whole leaves of basil with great success--just wash them and dry them thoroughly and put them in a freezer bag or freezer paper and then put that in another freezer bag or freezer foil or what have you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:16 PM on December 16, 2010


So it's not going to make you sick, but it's not going to give you its most delicious potential, either.

Hmmm. Do you think using more basil in a given dish would compensate for reduced flavor? Or should I basically just consider this basil a lost cause and throw it away?
posted by thehandsomecamel at 3:31 PM on December 16, 2010


Or just let it dry. Once its VERY dried, crumble it up and put in a little sealed plastic container. You can also freeze it from there, where it will keep more or less indefinately or just store in your cupboard for maybe 4-6 months (before it pretty much loses all its flavor and aroma).

You use dried basil differently than fresh. It's better for stuff like sauces etc. Fresh basil is best when its not overly cooked. If you're gonna really cook something down, dried basil is probably a better choice.
posted by elendil71 at 3:39 PM on December 16, 2010


I think even home-dried basil tastes like cardboard. But you can cook with this. If it's not moldy, it's not going to make you sick, and while I agree about not using it for pesto, it should be fine in anything cooked.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:48 PM on December 16, 2010


Unless you are shooting photos for a cookbook, your basil is fine to use as originally planned.
posted by Sara C. at 6:26 PM on December 16, 2010


As others have said, it's not likely to make you sick. Personally, I'd toss it in the compost but if you really want to keep it you should taste it before taking the chance of ruining a dish because it's foul.
posted by sanko at 6:46 PM on December 16, 2010


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