Nothing else has the power to transform a dish with just a few leaves than fresh herbs. It’s fun to buy bouquets of fresh thyme, sage and parsley at the farmer’s market as you imagine the beautiful meals you’ll whip up with their fragrant little leaves.
The only problem is fresh herbs don’t keep fresh for long. By the end of the week, those perky little leaves would probably have wilted and turned swampy in the fridge and you’ll have no choice but to throw them in the trash. What a waste.
Keep in the following storage tips to keep your herbs fresh and help you get the most out of them.
Tip #1: Sort your herbs.
- Herbs fall into two categories: soft and hard. Soft herbs have soft, tender stems, of which basil, cilantro, parsley and tarragon are examples. Contrary to this are hard herbs which have woody stems. Examples of which include marjoram, oregano, thyme and rosemary.
Tip #2: Store soft herbs as if they’re a bouquet of flowers.
- Soft herbs like to be treated as if they’re flowers. Snip off the base of the stems and put them in a glass of fresh water. Change the water every day or every other day when the water starts to cloud.
- Basil should be kept at room temperature; refrigerating basil will turn its leaves black. Other soft herbs in a glass can be kept in the fridge. Loosely cover the herbs with a plastic bag before storing in the fridge.
Tip #3: Store hard herbs in a damp cloth or paper towel.
- Wrap hard herbs, such as oregano and rosemary in a damp cloth or paper towel before wrapping them loosely with plastic wrap. An airtight container works as well in place of a plastic wrap. Keep them in the crisper.
Tip #4: Don’t wash herbs.
- Refrain from washing your herbs until they’re ready to be used. Washing the herbs adds moisture, making the herbs wilt and swampy faster.
Tip #5: Don’t try to use fresh herbs that are no longer fit to use.
- Fresh herbs are no longer fit to use when their leaves turn dark or brittle, or when their stems show traces of mold.