The most acceptable food flavor is fresh herbs, but how should they be stored? The most excellent methods for keeping their fresh are covered in this article. We’ll also go over evaporation prevention advice and how to hold them upright in the water. Don’t forget to store each variety of herb according to recommended methods as well. You should be able to enjoy fresh herbs for longer by using these methods to preserve them.
What are Fresh Herbs?
Aromatics are ingredients that are used to flavor or garnish cuisine. Tender herbs often referred to as soft and hard herbs, are the two types of fresh culinary herbs available at farmers’ markets and in the produce section of supermarkets. Cilantro, tarragon, parsley, dill, mint, and basil are tender herbs since they have soft stems and leaves. Hard herbs have more rigid leaves and stiff, woody stems. Popular hard herbs include sage, bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, and thyme.
How to Store Fresh Herbs?
The best way to keep herbs fresh is to pick them straight from the ground. But not all of us are blessed with a green thumb, and soon it will be too cold to grow herbs outside. Yes, it’s possible to keep a small indoor herb garden, but there isn’t much room in my little house, and it would be an exercise in futility to attempt to grow herbs here at this time. So I thought this would be a great time to share how I store fresh herbs. This technique can be applied to store-bought spices or herbs from your garden.
4 Ways to Store Fresh Herbs
A few rosemary sprigs or a few handfuls of sage leaves may be required in a recipe. To increase the shelf life of leftover fresh herbs, store them in the refrigerator, dry them, or freeze them.
Fresh herbs should be washed in cool water and dried to remove any dirt or bacteria that could ruin them quickly. Use a salad spinner or blot the herbs dry with a paper towel. Tender herbs can be preserved by standing them upright in a jar of water (much like a bouquet) and lightly enclosing them in a plastic bag. Before placing them in the refrigerator, roll tough herbs in a wet paper towel.
Arrange the herbs on a platter covered in paper towels after picking the leaves off them. After covering the herbs with a second paper towel, microwave them. Hardy herbs should be dried for one minute at first, then in bursts of 20 seconds until they are scorched. It will take 40 seconds for soft herbs, then 20-second shots. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the spices, then keep the powdered herbs in an airtight container. For foods that call for braising, such as stew, dry herbs are preferable because they are less flavorful than fresh herbs.
The herbs should be chopped, put in ice cube trays, and covered with a neutral oil, like canola or light olive oil. Keep the herbs frozen. Use frozen herbs in any sauces, soups, or stews that call for chopped herbs.
4. Airtight Container
When storing fresh herbs, there are several things to consider. Some are temperature, oxygen, and light sensitive. Some plants are prone to wilting if exposed to oxygen for a long time. Even light-resistant herbs need to be kept in airtight containers for storage. Your herbs will stay fresh for up to four to six weeks if you do this. Keep your fresh herbs in a cold, dark location for maximum flavor.
Do You Need to Wash Your Herbs?
Some advice against washing herbs because it adds moisture, but the truth is that herbs are already damp when you get them home from the store. I’ve found that herbs grow best when cleaned in cold water and spin in a salad spinner. They can be cleaned and spun to eliminate any dirt or bacteria that could promote decay. This is particularly true for herbs with delicate leaves. It’s best to wait to wash the spices until they are ready to use if you don’t have a salad spinner.
Trim the ends of the stems after the herbs have been cleaned and spun in the salad spinner. Eliminate any browned or wilted leaves. A glass or Mason jar should have an inch of water in it. Put the herbs in the container in a bouquet-like arrangement. Wrap loosely with cling wrap or a resealable plastic bag to preserve parsley and cilantro. You can use the lid of a big Mason jar or quart container to cover the herbs. Place in the fridge to store.
Additionally effective with tarragon, mint, and dill. Basil should be left open and placed on a counter where it can get some light when being stored. As needed, or if it turns discolored, replace the water.
Types of Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs can be divided into two main groups: tender and stiff.
Basil, parsley, and cilantro are sensitive herbs with tender stems and leaves. Hard herbs like rosemary, oregano, and thyme have woody stems.
There are two main approaches to storing herbs, which correspond to the major groups of herbs. Most fragile herbs can be prepared in jars, and most hard herbs can be prepared in bags. However, we employ the bag approach when growing delicate herbs like dill, chives, and tarragon. Use this as a general guideline!
Storing Fresh Herbs: Jar Method
For preserving fresh herbs, the jarring approach works well for delicate herbs like cilantro, mint, basil, and parsley. Instead of putting the cut ends in the produce drawer, please place them in water to maintain the plants robust for longer. The plastic produce bags from the grocery store should not be used to keep these herbs because doing so will cause them to wilt quickly. What to do is as follows:
- Use a sizable lidded canning jar or buy a herb saver. It is ideal to use a herb saver because it functions well and is tall enough to handle the majority of cilantro and parsley, and a big canning jar also works.
- Then put the herbs inside and add a few inches of water. Put the plants’ cut sides into the water.
- A cover or herb saver top should be added. The herbs are kept wonderfully fresh by the lid!
Storing Fresh Herbs: Bag Method
For woody herbs like oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage and sensitive herbs like chives, dill, and tarragon, the bag technique of storing fresh herbs works best. These herbs’ fragile stems make it more challenging to get them to support themselves in a jar. What to do with this kind of plant is as follows:
- Herbs are wrapped with a wet paper towel and kept moist.
- The herbs should be put in a plastic bag and sealed. Put this bag inside the fridge.
Why Should You Wash and Dry Herbs Before Storing?
Before using and storing, all fresh herbs should be thoroughly cleaned. Whether you need a single sprig or a big handful, it will be available whenever you need it if you thoroughly rinse the entire bunch under cool running water and then dry it well.
What’s the Difference Between Soft and Hard Herbs?
While hard herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage have woody stems and more complex leaves, soft herbs like basil, cilantro, and parsley have delicate stems and leaves. These variations affect how you should store and prepare them, and it also serves as a seasonal guide for herbs. While hard herbs frequently have a season that lasts well into early to mid-autumn, soft herbs are in season in the spring and fall.
How Long Will Fresh Herbs Last?
This method for preserving fresh herbs varies depending on the herb’s freshness at the time of purchase, the herb saver you use, and your refrigerator. For the jarring approach, most herbs mentioned above should remain fresh for around a week or possibly more. In either case, as the flavor is most delicate when the herbs are new, we advise utilizing them as soon as possible. You can keep fresh herbs fresh for weeks by keeping them in water. While heartier herbs like rosemary and oregano may survive up to 3 weeks, more fragile herbs like basil and cilantro can only be retained for approximately a week.
Why Fresh Herbs Go Bad in the Fridge?
Several things can cause fresh herbs to spoil. The leaves can become slimy from too much moisture and dry up from too little humidity. Fresh herbs can also become yellow from too much light and brown from too much oxygen and occasionally icy conditions. Find the herb’s ideal combination of these four elements—moisture, light, oxygen, and temperature—. Your fresh herbs will last approximately two to three weeks if you use these techniques, possibly even longer.
Can You Freeze Herbs Like Basil?
The best herbs for freezing in oil are those with softer, more delicate leaves, like basil or cilantro, and they are less suitable for freezing whole due to their fragility. More robust herbs, like rosemary and oregano, which have thicker leaves and twig-like stems, fare well when frozen whole.
Is it Better to Freeze Herbs in Water Or Oil?
Finely Chop Your Herbs
The oil will help keep the flavor of the herbs as they freeze and will also melt more quickly than plain water if you use a food processor. If you are using olive oil, add two teaspoons.
The herbs should be carefully removed from stalks, chopped into more significant bits, and put in an ice cube tray. Halfway, herbs should be placed in each tiny portion, and extra virgin olive oil should be drizzled on top. Wrap the tray with plastic wrap before freezing.
Fresh herbs can be kept in various ways, but submerged in water can keep them fresher for longer. Water can be used to keep herbs moist so they can last for several weeks. Tender herbs can be stored in water by cutting off the stems and putting them in a plastic quart jar or another small jar with an inch of water. Please make sure the branches are upright so the water can penetrate them.