Extend the shelf life of fresh herbs
Have you ever purchased a bunch of cilantro or parsley, only to have it go to waste in the fridge? You reach to use it later in the week and yuck!, slimy cilantro. What a waste…
These days we can usually find fresh herbs at our local grocery store. They come in plastic packages in .25 ounce quantities for around $1.50. In the produce section at your local grocery, you may even be able to purchase whole parsley, mint, and basil plants for $2.49 (which is less than a plant from the garden center, go figure?). Vendors at Farmers Markets often sell bunches of herbs, freshly cut from the farm that morning.
How to you store fresh herbs once you get them home?
Tender herbs are best stored in the refrigerator (except basil, it turns black when exposed to the cold). If you purchase herbs at the store or farmers market there are a few things you can do to extend their freshness:
1. Rinse and clean up the herbs by removing any “past their prime” leaves or stems.
2. Trim 1/8th of an inch off the stems. It will help them take in fresh waster, just like flowers.
3. Place the stems in a container with an inch of fresh water (I like to use pint canning jars). There should not be any leaves under the water, they will decompose fast. Do not crowd the stems.
4. Cover the leaves, and container, with a plastic produce bag.
5. Refrigerate. You should change the water when it is no longer clear and cut off and remove any stems that show signs of decay.
That’s going to take up a bit of storage space in your refrigerator. Get a small, plastic or wicker basket and use it to store your herbs in water. This will keep them upright and you can easily remove the whole basket while cooking.
Short term herb storage – These will keep fresh in the refrigerator for 7-10 days
- // Chervil
- // Chives
- // Dill
- // Watercress
You can store these fresh herbs in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks
- // Cilantro
- // Oregano
- // Parsley
- // Summer Savory
- // Tarragon
- // Thyme
- // Winter Savory
Some herbs do just as well in jar of water on the counter and will last for 3 to 4 weeks. They may even sprout roots.
It’s best to pick the herbs grown in your garden as you need them. While picking, bring a basket, bowl of fresh water, and a dish towel. To prevent wilting, place herb stems stems in the bowl and cover with the towel. Do what you can to keep them out of direct sunlight. If you are bringing herbs inside for storage, be sure and rinse excess soil and pests off herbs as soon as you can.
Alternative method. Some people store herbs in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Be sure to leave room for air circulation by leaving the zipper open or puncturing a few air holes in the bag. To keep moisture in, you could wrap the stems in a moist paper towel or lay the herbs on a moist towel in the bag.
Here are a few more tricks for fresh herb storage from Yahoo Food. Learn to dry your herbs here – How Do I Store That? Dried Herbs
Which are more potent – fresh or dried herbs?
Think about dried herbs as being more concentrated. You may need three times the amount of fresh herbs as dried. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of dried herbs, you should use 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs. Those little .25 ounce packages will provide you with about 2 Tablespoons of chopped herbs.
Use these tricks to save money, prevent waste, and store fresh herbs all summer long.
Shred with- Happy Healthy Green Natural –
Deborah Davis says
This is so helpful. It is always such a disappointment when good herbs go bad. I have encountered a number of questions and confusion regarding how to properly store fresh herbs, so I am so delighted that you shared your valuable insights with us on the Plant-based Potluck Party. I’m pinning and sharing.
Savonnerie Benoit says
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