Whether you grow them in the garden or buy them at the store, fresh herbs are a gift that never stops giving. With a little effort, they add flavor to whatever you’re cooking—from cereal bowls and pasta to sauces and dips. They are exceptionally forgiving and equally versatile. At CS, a bouquet of fresh flowers is practically our love language. But herbs, especially those with a soft green color, are quite fragile. Due to preservation (or forgetfulness), we are all plagued with coriander mucus. This is unpalatable, waste of money and product overlooked! Good news? There are many ways to preserve fresh herbs so that they last longer. Even better news – they keep very well in the freezer. That way, you can always have your herbs ready to go. Get the most out of these nutritious, flavorful beaver berries by learning how to keep your herbs fresh in the fridge.
Featured image of Michelle Nash.
Before storing herbs, know what you are doing. To get started, just look at your herbs. If the stems are soft and green, they are classified as “tender herbs”. Some popular varieties include basil, parsley, dill, tarragon, and cilantro. These are considered annual herbs and should be planted each spring. These, for example, wouldn’t survive a harsh Colorado winter (I know it well). If your herbs are woody – the kind you don’t want to eat raw – they are considered woody herbs. These are herbs like chives, mint, rosemary, thyme, and sage. Unlike annual herbs, perennial herbs. They do not need to be replanted every year. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to know how to keep your herbs fresh in the fridge.
Small but majestic, herbs are both delicious and nutritious. They are functional foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help strengthen the immune system. Specifically, research shows that consuming herbs can help prevent and control heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Eating herbs may also help reduce blood clots and provide anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. Here are common herbs and their health benefits.
Did you know that there are more than 60 types of basil? Sweet basil is the most widely used. Basil contains many vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. Remember that many of its health benefits disappear during the drying process, so choose to buy fresh basil whenever possible. Use basil in your favorite pasta dishes — hot or cold!
Coriander is known as an amazing detoxifier. Research shows it can help protect against food poisoning, resolve digestive disorders, lower blood sugar levels, remove heavy metals in the body, etc. Moreover, its antioxidants are well known. It is said to help reduce inflammation in the body and even help aging skin. We love cilantro on any tacos!
Available in bright green, the two most popular varieties are French curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. Both are beneficial for health. Parsley is known to support bone health, eye health, heart health, and it has antibacterial properties. Cauliflower tabbouleh, anyone?
Mint leaves, like other herbs, are powerful antioxidants. They help ease digestion, improve eye health, and support the body’s immune system. Mint leaves are rich in phosphorus, calcium and vitamins like C, D, E and A that help improve the body’s immune system. This pea and mint salad is a tribute to all the herb goodness and a beautiful nod to spring flavors.
Sage has a strong aroma and earthy flavor, which is why it is often used in small amounts. Even so, it contains many important nutrients and compounds. Sage is also used as a natural cleansing agent, insecticide, and ritual object in burning or soiling sage. This green herb is available fresh, dried, or in oil form and is high in vitamin K.
Chives are rich in antioxidants, which contribute to most of their benefits. These antioxidants help fight cancer, improve heart health, and may even fight inflammation. They also detox the body and promote skin health. Plus, their fiber can ease the digestive process. Add these homemade dumplings — with chives! —For the girls’ next night.
Last but not least, rosemary. Rosemary is also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. They are said to strengthen the immune system and improve blood circulation. Rosemary is considered a cognitive stimulant and may help improve memory performance and quality. It is also known to enhance alertness, intelligence and focus. Try this noodle dish with fresh rosemary.
This goes without saying, but taking a little extra time to properly store your herbs is a game changer. It will not guarantee you never Throw away another bunch of herbs, but it will help extend their shelf life. Despite the annoyance of having to deal with a few minor chores after grocery shopping, your future self will thank you. For a long-lasting product, say sayonara to stack ingredients on shelves and drawers. In the long run, it will save you money, improve your health, reduce food waste, and make those organic herbs worthwhile. Here are tips on how to keep herbs fresh in the fridge.
Yes! Regardless of the herbs you have purchased (or grown), you need to wash and dry them. It is a good policy to do this as soon as you return from the store. After all, the shelf life of an herb is cut short by bacteria and dirt on the surface. Rinsing them off does the trick. Rinse your herbs under cold running water, then remove any dirt that might be hiding. Then, spread them out on a clean tea towel and pat dry. You can also use a salad spinner. Get as much water out of them as possible.
It depends on when you plan to use them.
Within the next week or two…
If you’re going to use tender herbs, choose a bouquet. (More on that below.) Basically, cut off the bottom of their stems, remove any wilted leaves, then put them in a cup of water with an inch of water. Keep them in the fridge and change the water every few days. For harder herbs that you plan to use soon, wrap them in a damp paper towel, then wrap it in plastic wrap (for an eco-friendly option, consider plastic wraps). this beeswax). You will create a herb burrito that fits perfectly.
Over the next few months…
If you don’t plan on using your herbs within a week or two, consider freezing. For hardy herbs, wrap them the way you would in the fridge, but store them in a freezer bag with a lid. When you’re ready to use, they’re easy to defrost. For soft herbs, you will also use the freezer. But, the method is a little bit different. For basil, dill, cilantro, etc., you use an ice cube tray. Puree your herbs with a few tablespoons of olive oil (or water), then pour the mixture into an ice tray to freeze. That’s it! Your herbs will last in the freezer for several months.
Based on Food & Wine, the best way to preserve tender herbs is to cut off the bottom of the stem, remove wilted or browning leaves, and place in a Mason jar with 1-2 inches of cold water. They should be in a loose bunch without the original elastics or twisted ties. Make sure that the ends of the stem are submerged in the water. If you want to go further, keep the tops of the herbs covered with an upside down bag. (For pictures, see here.) Place your bouquet anywhere in the refrigerator. I’ve found that refrigerator door racks work best — that way, they’ll get warm air. Change the water every few days, like you would with a bouquet of flowers.
When they are almost dry, transfer your hardy herbs in a single layer onto a dry paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Roll it vertically into a cylinder. Put in a bag and store in the refrigerator, preferably in the refrigerator drawer. For bags, use a breathable, washable, reusable mesh bag. They are of excellent quality and are environmentally friendly.
Now that you know how to keep your fresh herbs in the fridge, here’s a quick recap:
PARSLEY: Tender herb has a shelf life of 3 weeks.
LANGUAGE: Tender herb has a shelf life of 3 weeks.
TARRAGON: Tender herb has a shelf life of 3 weeks.
DILL: Tender herb has a shelf life of 2 weeks.
MINT: Tender herb has a shelf life of 3 weeks.
BASIL: Tender herb has a shelf life of 2 weeks.
ROSEMARY: The hardy herb has a shelf life of 3 weeks.
MUSK: The hardy herb has a shelf life of 2 weeks.
SAGE: The hardy herb has a shelf life of 2 weeks.
family: A hardy herb with a shelf life of 1 week.
What herb-saving tips do you rely on to keep the stems green?