Fresh herbs are so essential to my cooking that I use them every day. In fact, the very first thing I planted when we bought our home was an herb garden. And from May to November, I make the trip to my treasured herb garden several times a day. I like to pick my herbs just before I cook with them – this way, they’re as fresh and flavorful as can be. Plus I only pick what I need, so there’s no waste.
For the rest of the year, however, when my garden is covered with snow, I have no choice but to buy my fresh herbs. And as you know, you always end up with more than you need!
Throw away that plastic packaging
So storing the delicate herbs properly is key. If you leave your fresh herbs in the plastic bag you got from your grocer, they’ll start rotting within a few days. Some of the hardier herbs come in small plastic boxes, and if you just throw those in your fridge, they’ll soon dry up.
Keep your herbs hydrated and crisp
After trying different methods for preserving the freshness of my herbs, I came up with a way to keep them hydrated and crisp for at least a week! And because the herbs are wrapped in a natural fiber (cotton), they “breathe” and therefore don’t spoil as fast as when stored in plastic. In fact, some hardier herbs will even stay fresh for several weeks.
So take a look at this short video (or the instructions below) to see how it’s done. You’ll learn just how to save those precious herbs until you’ve had a chance to use them all.
A few favorite recipes with fresh herbs
How to store fresh herbs
active time: 5 min
- 1 large bunch fresh herbs
- 1 clean, absorbent cotton kitchen towel (such as a bar mop)
- Rinse the herbs in a salad spinner and spin them dry. Set aside. Wet the kitchen towel with cold water and squeeze out as much water as possible. Spread the towel on your kitchen counter. Place the herbs in the center and wrap the towel around the herbs. Refrigerate in the vegetable drawer. Replace the towel with a fresh one once a week.
- Delicate herbs like mint, parsley or cilantro will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks. Hardy herbs like thyme, rosemary and sage will keep for 3 to 4 weeks. Therefore, I suggest you put the delicate and hardy herbs in separate towels.
- And there’s one more benefit to storing your herbs this way: All the other vegetables in your veggie drawer will be hydrated by the damp cloth too, and will therefore stay fresh longer.