How to know if basil is spoiled? (6 easy ways)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How to know if the basil is spoiled”, discuss the different methods of identifying the spoiled basil and the potential side effects of eating spoiled basil.

How to know if basil is spoiled?

Mostly spoiled basils turn into golden brown or in black color. Check that the basil has not absorbed water. If basil has water or moisture content then it might probably be spoiled. If basil gives an unpleasant smell then it is a strong sign that it is spoiled. Spoiled basils have weak and soft strands. The leaves of spoiled basil may also be wrinkled. 

Basil is a herbal plant commonly found in central Africa and some parts of Asia. There are various types of basils such as sweet basil, Thai basil, holy basil, lemon basil, etc. Basil is an important herb that is commonly added to our dishes at the end like pesto, marinara sauce, etc. It is very healthy and is used in medicines also. 

There are 6 easy ways to tell whether the basil is s[poiled or not. Those methods are discussed below:


Fresh basil has a distinct green color. If you are observing that the color of basil is turned into brown or black then it gives you a strong sign that the basil is spoiled.


The texture of the basil should be dry. If you are observing some moisture contents on the surface of the basil then this tells you that the basil is spoiled. As a precaution, it is commonly advised to keep the basil in a dry and cool place otherwise it will spoil quickly. 


Fresh basil has a very pleasant odor. If you sniff the basil closely and experience some foul or bad smell then this means that the basil is spoiled. It would be a good practice to toss such basil away.

Weak strands:

Fresh basil usually has a strong stem and healthy strands. When the basil starts to spoil similarly its strands and stem also start to become weak and soft gradually. If you feel that the strands of basil are not healthy and strong like they were, then the basil may be spoiling. That is why it is advised to properly store basil in a cool and dry place.

Wrinkled leaves:

Fresh basil usually has very fresh leaves and is very pleasant to the eyes. Spoiled basil usually has withered or wrinkled leaves. So it is a powerful sign if you observe something wrong with the leaves of the basil.

Expiry date:

This is also an easy way to just check on the package of the basil for the expiry date. If the expiry date has passed then it would probably be spoiled and if the basil has not been past the expiry date then it will still be good to consume considering it was stored properly in a dry, clean, and cool place.

Other FAQs about Basil which you may be interested in.

Should you chop basil?

Can I freeze fresh basil?

Shelf life of basil:

If fresh basil is properly stored in a clean, cool, and dry place then it would last up to 5-9 days. If you have dried the basil and made it into a powder form then it would be good on the shelf for 2-3 years. The shelf life of basil can be enhanced by keeping it away from sunlight and storing it properly in a cool, clean, and dried-up place.

Health effects of basil:

Basil should be consumed for the short term only. If a person starts to consume basil every day then certain side effects will take place. In some people, basil can lower the blood sugar level. If you consume basil oil through the mouth then it is probably unsafe because it can cause liver cancer inside you.

It will not be easy to consume spoiled basil because of the foul smell and bad taste etc. But still, if you somehow manage to eat it then some of the foodborne illnesses will take birth. You might have to face abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, etc. 


So in this blog, we discussed several ways to tell if the basil is spoiled or not. We discussed that brown or black color, or moist texture or foul smell could be strong signs indicating that the basil is spoiled. You can also tell whether the basil is spoiled or not by inspecting its strands or leaves. If you feel that the leaves are withered or the stems are weak and soft then this tells that the basil is spoiled.

We also discussed that the shelf life of basil could be 5-7 days if stored properly. On the other hand, if we convert it into dry and powdered form then its shelf life will increase up to 2-3 years.

Then we also discussed some side effects if you consume basil daily. 

I hope you found this blog helpful. If you have any queries feel free to comment below.


What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.