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Hey there, fellow kitchen enthusiasts! Aren’t fresh herbs the best? Cooking is fun! We can make delicious vegan pesto tangy chimichurri or treat ourselves with Spring Herbs Soup with herbs like Basil and cilantro. These fresh greens add fantastic flavors to our dishes!   Let’s be honest – if we’re not careful, these delicate herbs can turn into a sad bag of green mush faster than we’d like. And nobody wants that. So, let’s talk about the secret to keeping our precious herbs fresh and fabulous!

parsely, green, healthy

Properly storing fresh herbs is the key to ensuring they stay in their prime longer, saving us from food and money wastage. So, no more crying over wilted Basil or faded cilantro! Follow these simple tips, and your herbs will be ready to rock in all your favorite recipes.

Types of Fresh Herbs

 

herb stems, soft stems

 

Fresh herbs come into varying categories: soft herbs and tender herbs. Tender herbs have tender stems and leaflike rinds such as cilantro, parsley, and cilantro. Hard herbs contain woody stems, like basil or rosemary.

3 Ways to Store Fresh Herbs

 

store basil, ways to store

If you’re a fan of fresh herbs and want to make them last longer, here are three fantastic methods to store them and keep their flavors intact!

 

Refrigerator Method

 

Trim the stems of the herbs and remove any wilted or discolored leaves. Place the herbs in a glass of water, like you would with flowers, and cover them loosely with a plastic bag. Store the herbs in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer or on a shelf with low humidity. This method works well for hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage.

 

Freezing Method

 

Start by washing and drying your herbs carefully. Next, chop them finely or leave them in whole leaves, depending on your liking. Use an ice cube tray and place the herbs in each compartment. Fill the tray with either water or olive oil, and pop it in the freezer until the cubes are solid. Once frozen, transfer these herb-filled cubes into a resealable freezer bag. This fantastic method works wonders for delicate herbs like cilantro and parsley, preserving their fresh flavors whenever needed!

 

Drying Method

 

First, secure your herbs with a string or rubber band in small bunches. Then, hang the bundles upside down in a well-ventilated spot, away from direct sunlight. Let them dry completely until they become crumbly. You can use a dehydrator or set your oven to a low temperature. Once dried, store the herbs in airtight containers or glass jars. This technique works best for hardy herbs and allows you to enjoy their goodness year-round. Happy herb preserving!

Should You Wash Herbs Before Storing?

 

stay fresh, fresh herbs

 

There’s this debate about whether to wash it because some say it adds moisture. But let me tell you the real deal: when you get herbs from the supermarket, they’re already wet! Washing them under cool or cold water and using a salad spinner works best. It removes any dirt or germs that could cause them to go bad. It is essential for those delicate leafy herbs.   If you don’t have a salad spinner, we got you covered with clever alternatives to help you dry your salad without a salad spinner.

 

  • Paper Towel Pat-Down: After washing your greens, you can use damp paper towels and lay them out on a clean and absorbent paper towel.
  • Let Gravity Do The Work: For larger leaves like lettuce or kale, you can use gravity to help dry them. After washing, place the greens in a clean colander or mesh strainer. Leave the colander in the sink or over a large bowl and let the water drip off for a few minutes. Give the colander a few gentle shakes to speed up the process.

How to Store Tender and Hard Herbs?

 

mason jar, storage method

 

Tender Herbs

 

After washing and spinning your herbs, you can now trim the stem ends and remove any wilting leaves of the washed herbs. You can now store soft herbs. Get a Mason jar and fill it with an inch of water – a little herb spa! Arrange the herbs in the glass jar like a bouquet of flowers. For parsley and cilantro, cover with a plastic bag or cling wrap. If you have a big jar or container, use the lid. It works for tarragon, mint, and dill too! But most herbs like Basil prefer direct sunlight, so leave it uncovered on your sunny countertop.

Hard Herbs

The hardier herbs like rosemary, dill, sage, thyme, chives, and oregano are sturdy, so they don’t dry out quickly. Wrap them in a paper towel and put them in a sealed container or bag in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. Easy peasy! It is essential to remember to keep the paper towel moistened as required to maintain its freshness.

The Enemies of Freshness

 

herbs so they last. dry herbs

 

The enemies of herb freshness are factors that cause them to deteriorate and lose their vibrant qualities. Some common enemies of herb freshness include:

  • Sunlight: Too much light can make your herbs go yellow, especially if they’re delicate ones like parsley, chervil, or cilantro. So, keep them away from too much sun exposure!
  • Oxygen: Too much oxygen can be a sneaky culprit. To avoid that, wrap or cover them up in the fridge – they’ll stay fresher for way longer!
  • Moisture: Excess moisture can turn your herbs slimy or moldy, like when you leave them in those supermarket plastic bags. Yuck! Let’s keep them dry and happy!
  • Don’t Dry Them Out: On the flip side, don’t let your herbs dry. If they lose too much moisture, their flavor goes along for the ride, and we don’t want that.
  • Temperature: Most herbs love the cool company of the fridge, but basil and thin-leafed mint are a bit sensitive to the cold. So, store them away from the chilliest spots to prevent browning and bruising.

How Long Can You Store Herbs?

 

bouquet of flowers, storage methods

 

Alright, let’s talk about the lifespan of our beloved fresh herbs! With the proper care, you can make them last up to three weeks – pretty impressive.

So, here’s a quick rundown of the most common herbs and how long they usually stick around. But remember, once they start showing signs of being all dark and brittle, or if you spot any mold on those stems, it’s time to bid them farewell and toss them out. We want our herbs to be at their freshest best for all our tasty recipes!

Tender Herbs

Parsley – 3

weeks Dill – 3

weeks Cilantro – 3 weeks

Mint – 2 weeks

Tarragon – 3 weeks

Basil – 2 weeks

Hard Herbs

Rosemary – 3 weeks

Oregano – 2 weeks

Thyme – 2 weeks

Sage – 2 weeks

Savory – 2 weeks

Preserving Nature’s Flavor: A Herbal Farewell

 

In conclusion, storing fresh herbs properly is essential to prolong their life and keep them at their flavorful best. You can preserve the freshness of delicate and hardy herbs by choosing the suitable storage method, such as refrigeration, freezing using an ice cube trays, or drying. Protect your herbs from sunlight, excess oxygen, and moisture to prevent spoilage. With the proper care, your herbs can last up to three weeks, allowing you to enjoy their delightful taste and aroma in all your culinary creations. So, let’s keep those herbs happy and fresh, and let the flavorful cooking adventures continue!

FAQs

How long can I keep herbs in the fridge?

Generally, fresh herbs can last anywhere from a few days to weeks when appropriately stored in the refrigerator. Here are some approximate guidelines for common herbs:

  • Tender Herbs: Tender herbs like parsley, cilantro, and dill can typically last 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator if stored correctly.
  • Hardy Herbs: Hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage can last slightly longer, usually around 2 to 3 weeks, when stored properly.
  • Basil: Basil is sensitive and should be used within 2 to 3 days of purchase to retain its best flavor and quality.
Should you put herbs in the water in the fridge?

Putting herbs in water in the fridge can be a beneficial storage method for specific herbs—tender herbs like parsley, cilantro, and mint benefit from being stored in water.

Can I store all herbs together in the same container?

It’s best to store herbs separately, especially if they have different moisture requirements. Delicate herbs should be stored away from hardy ones to prevent wilting or damage.

Can I store herbs in the freezer for an extended period?

Yes, freezing herbs can keep them fresh for several months. Just ensure they are properly wrapped or sealed in airtight containers or freezer bags to prevent freezer burn and maintain their flavors.

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