You know, those flavorful little leaves that take our meals from “good” to “amazing.” If you’ve ever bought fresh herbs from the store or picked them from your garden, you know that it’s hard to use them all up at once.
So, what do you do with the leftovers? How do you store fresh herbs so they’ll last until you need them again? That’s what we’re going to talk about today!
Preserve the flavor of fresh herbs by storing soft ones like parsley and cilantro in a glass of water, covered loosely with a plastic bag in the fridge. Store hard herbs like rosemary and thyme wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel inside a partly open plastic bag in the fridge.
What are the best ways to store fresh herbs?
Fresh herbs are a bit like people – each one is unique! The best way to store your herbs depends on the type. We usually divide herbs into two main categories: soft herbs and hard herbs.
- Soft Herbs: These are herbs with tender stems and leaves like basil, cilantro, parsley, and mint. These herbs love moisture and should be treated like a bunch of flowers.
- Hard Herbs: These herbs have woody stems and firmer leaves. Examples include rosemary, thyme, and oregano. They prefer a slightly different storage method which we’ll dive into later.
How to store soft herbs in the fridge
Storing soft herbs is like putting together a tiny herb bouquet. Here’s how you do it:
- First, fill a glass or jar with a little bit of water.
- Next, trim the ends of the herb stems just like you would for a bouquet of flowers.
- Stand the herbs up in the glass or jar, just like flowers in a vase!
- Finally, loosely cover the herbs with a plastic bag and put them in your fridge.
Pretty easy, right? This method keeps the herbs fresh and bright for a good while! Check out my guide on how to properly store foods in the fridge which helps determine where to store things and for how long.
How to store hard herbs in the fridge
When it comes to storing hard herbs in the fridge, the method is a little different from soft herbs. These types of herbs include rosemary, thyme, and oregano – the ones with woody stems and firmer leaves.
- First, wrap your hard herbs loosely in a slightly damp paper towel. This helps to provide a humid, but not too wet environment for the herbs.
- Next, place the wrapped herbs in a resealable plastic bag. Don’t seal it tightly, though. Leave a small opening for air to circulate.
- Finally, place them in the warmest part of your fridge. For most people, that’s usually the door.
Following this method should keep your hard herbs fresh for about two to three weeks! Just like with soft herbs, be sure to check your hard herbs for any signs of spoiling, like mold, a slimy texture, or a bad smell, before using them in your dishes.
How long will fresh herbs last in the fridge?
The life of fresh herbs can depend a lot on the type of herb and how it’s stored. Generally speaking:
- Soft herbs like basil and cilantro can last up to two weeks in the fridge.
- Hard herbs like rosemary and thyme can last even longer, up to three weeks.
Remember, these are just estimates, and you should always check your herbs before you use them. If they’re slimy, discolored, or smell bad, it’s time to toss them out.
Should you wash herbs before storing?
Good question! It’s usually best to wait and wash your herbs right before you’re going to use them. If you wash them before storing them, the extra moisture can cause them to go bad faster. However, if your herbs are really dirty, you can gently rinse and pat them dry before storing them.
What is the best way to dry herbs?
If you can’t use up your herbs in time, drying them is a great way to preserve them. Here’s a simple method:
- Gather your herbs into small bunches and tie the stems together with string.
- Hang the bunches upside down in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight.
- Let the herbs dry until the leaves are crumbly, which usually takes about 1-2 weeks depending on the herb.
- Once dry, store the herbs in airtight containers away from light and heat.
You now have your own homemade dried herbs, ready for your favorite recipes! You can speed up the process by drying your herbs in the air fryer too.
How long can I store fresh herbs?
Fresh herbs can be stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks, but if you dry them properly, they can last for up to a year. Just remember, dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor, so you’ll need less of them in your recipes compared to fresh herbs.
How to freeze fresh herbs
Freezing fresh herbs is a simple and effective way to preserve their flavor. Here are two methods with step-by-step guides:
1. Wash and Dry: Begin by washing your fresh herbs thoroughly under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. After washing, make sure to dry them completely. You can do this by patting them dry with a towel or using a salad spinner.
2. Chop the Herbs: This step is optional, but chopping the herbs can make it easier to use them later. Simply remove the leaves from the stems and chop them finely.
3. Pack in Freezer Bags: Place your chopped (or whole) herbs into freezer-safe bags. Try to remove as much air as possible from the bag to prevent freezer burn.
4. Freeze: Lay the bags flat in the freezer. Once the herbs are frozen, you can stack the bags to save space.
Ice cube trays
1. Fill Ice Cube Trays: Put your chopped herbs in each compartment of an ice cube tray. You don’t want to fill each one all the way – aim for about half full.
2. Add Oil or Water: Pour enough olive oil or water into each compartment to cover the herbs.
3. Freeze: Place the ice cube tray in the freezer. Once the cubes are solidly frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag for longer storage.
4. Use: When you’re ready to use your herbs, simply add a cube to your cooking directly from the freezer.
Remember, the flavor of herbs can become more concentrated when frozen, so you might need less than if you were using fresh!
Frequently asked questions about how to store fresh herbs
And that’s it! You now know how to store fresh herbs so you can keep those delicious flavors handy for your cooking.
Remember, each type of herb is unique, so it may take a little bit of trial and error to find the perfect storage method for your favorites.
But with these tips, you’re well on your way to fresh, flavorful herbs any time you need them.