Storing Fresh Herbs
Do you have an herb garden? Maybe you like the taste of fresh herbs in your food. Here are some tips for storing fresh herbs to be used later.
Herbs are one way to season your food and add flavor without adding salt. You can bring out the natural essence of your dish with the right mix of herbs.
It doesn’t take much to grow an herb garden. You can keep one on your window sill. Many of the more common herbs will grow very well in a small flower pot. When you need them, simply pinch off the leaves you want to use. They are very aromatic so your entire kitchen will smell like an Italian eatery.
Keeping Fresh Herbs Fresh
If you are purchasing your fresh herbs from the grocery store, one way to keep them fresh is to treat them like flowers. Place long stem herbs like parsley, basil and cilantro in a vase of water. Use only about an inch of water and keep them at room temperature. Herbs should stay fresh this way for about a week or so.
For shorter herbs like thyme, rosemary and chives, wrap them in plastic wrap or place them in a plastic bag. You can include a paper towel to absorb any moisture that could mold the herbs prematurely. Place your bag on the door of your fridge or in the crisper tray away from the coldest air. Resist the urge to rinse off our herbs until you are ready to use them.
Want to keep your herbs longer than a week? If you are not going to use them right away and don’t want them to mold, try freezing them. To ensure that the herbs freeze thoroughly, separate the leaves from the stem. Place them in a single layer in a plastic Ziploc bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing it. Lay your bags of herbs flat in your freezer.
Drying Fresh Herbs
You also have the option of drying your fresh herbs. If you grow your own herbs and find you have more than you need, drying is a way to prepare them for use. This process can keep them fresh giving you more time. Remove leaves from the stems and place them on a plate. Leave thyme and rosemary whole while chopping up parsley, basil and cilantro. Keep them in a cool, dry place for a few days until they are completely dry. Keep different types of herbs in their own resealable containers. Store them in the fridge.
It is best to use them within a year or less. Periodically check them for signs of mold and remove any that show it or discoloration.
You can store your fresh herbs to flavor your food in the coming months.