How to store fresh herbs

Bouquet garni | Herb bundle

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

Vegetable cassoulet with olive oil croutons

Wild mushroom confit with garlic and fresh herbs

Summer tomato sauce with sweet onions and fresh herbs

Provençal summer vegetable gratin with olives and fresh goat cheese

Rosemary-roasted root vegetables agrodolce

How to store fresh herbs

active time: 5 min

  1. 1 large bunch fresh herbs
  2. 1 clean, absorbent cotton kitchen towel (such as a bar mop)

  1. 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.

Viviane’s tips
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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  1. Pingback: Aïgo Bouido (Provençal garlic soup) | Food & Style

  2. One of things I love about spring to fall is being able to pick herbs as I need them from my herb garden. These are great tips for the winter when I have to buy. Gorgeous pictures!

  3. Thanks for the tip, Viviane. I am going to try this method next time.

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