As I'm sure you know, cooking with fresh herbs is so much better than using them frozen or dried. There's so much more fragrance and flavor; I think it enhances so much more than just the eating experience. Fresh herbs definitely add to the entire culinary adventure. The aromas of cutting fresh herbs for a dish are so satisfying and make me excited to prepare the food!
I've always struggled with buying fresh herbs because of the shelf life. I couldn't keep them long enough to use. I thought it was so wasteful to buy a large bunch of parsley to use one or two sprigs. Recently I've figured out the best ways to store fresh herbs, and I am so excited! Maybe it's just a mental thing; but I think my meals have improved. I thought I would share these quick tips.
Previously, I would take herbs home and immediately shove them in the vegetable drawer of the fridge, forget about them for a few days, and get really sad when they weren't usable anymore.
My first mistake here, was not washing my herbs. They've been handled by multiple people, travelled to the store or market, and then home with me. Any herbs purchased from the grocery store should be removed from the packaging and washed to remove dirt and bacteria. I would also recommend washing any herbs from your own garden or farmer's market prior to use. Leave on the counter to dry, or pat with a paper towel.
I also wasn't cutting the ends off to promote water intake. Snipping the ends off of the herbs encourages them to take in water, retaining freshness. I also had no idea different herbs needed to be stored in different ways. Once I learned these variances, my herbs have been keeping much longer.
The Woody Herbs- These types of herbs include rosemary, sage, thyme, chives, oregano, and marjoram. Wrap the bottoms in a moist paper towel. Place in a glass mason jar or cup. Remoisten the paper towel as necessary. Done! Currently I have thyme and rosemary in the fridge this way, and it's been over two weeks. I've been using one or two sprigs with meals and the rest stays fresh and ready to use.
The Soft Herbs- Including dill, parsley, cilantro, mint, and tarragon. First, remove any discolored, dying, wilted, or slimy leaves. Place herbs standing up in a mason jar or class cup with a small amount of water in the bottom. If the lid of the mason jar will fit over the herbs, use that; or take a plastic bag and place it over the herbs. Change the water as needed. They will keep refrigerated one to two weeks.
Special Basil- Basil doesn't like to be cold. It can be stored in a mason jar/cup with water on the bottom, no need to cover or refrigerate.
If I still don't use the herbs quick enough, I make sure to whip up a batch of compound butter that I will use throughout the year.
I love this tutorial from Center Cut Cook, but I'll use any herbs I have on hand. This butter is AMAZING and so versatile! We use it on bread, to flavor our meats, and when frying to add extra flavor.
Another awesome herb-heavy recipe are these Turkey Burgers from
What are your favorite herbs to use?
Do you have any tips for keeping them?