Don’t let your hearty or fresh herbs go to waste! Learn how to wash and store fresh herbs properly to extend their shelf life and maximize flavor.
So, you buy some fresh basil, parsley, chives or cilantro from the store and it turns to mush in a matter of days in the bag you brought it home in. We have all had this happen to us! But instead of using those fresh herbs in a few short days from buying them, let’s store them in a way to last about 2 weeks in the fridge. YES, you read that right. TWO WEEKS! Wanna know how? Read on.
Water is the Enemy
When it comes to extending the life of anything fresh (fruit, veg, herbs, etc.) water is the enemy. Water promotes decomposition, so DRY herbs is the name of the game.
Storing Hearty Herbs
Heartier herbs like rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and sage come in small clamshells from the store and will last about 5 days without having to do anything. While these herbs aren’t wet coming home from the grocery store, they are prone to drying out. To prevent this, take a lightly damp paper towel, wrap your herbs and seal in a plastic zip top bag. Store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Storing Fresh Herbs
Other fresher herbs like cilantro, basil, chives and parsley will last much longer if you follow these three simple steps when you get home from the grocery store.
Wash Your Herbs
Take your bundle of herbs and soak them with a fruit and veggie wash, baking soda and water mixture or salt water. All three options work to remove dirt and pesticides. I like to do this in a salad spinner or large bowl of water. A clean sink with a plug will also do the trick. After 5-10 minutes of soaking, drain and rinse well.
Dry Your Herbs
I find the quickest and easiest way to do this is with a salad spinner. I do 2-3 go arounds, dumping the water after each spin. If you don’t have a salad spinner, shake as much excess water off of your herbs as possible and air dry on clean dish towels.
Storing the Fresh Herbs
In a small cup or jar, fill halfway with cold water. Extra canning jars or recyclable jars from previous store bought products work great for this. Trim the stems of the herbs and add them to the water, ensuring the leaves you want to stay fresh are not touching the water. Take a clean, lightweight plastic bag (like the one you brought your herbs home from the grocery store in) and cover the herbs gently. Tie a knot in the bottom so it’s mostly sealed and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you want to use, remove the bag, snip off what you need, refresh the water (if desired) and replace the bag.
Have your herbs last as long as possible with these three simple tips! Enjoy, friends!