We’re often asked for the best way to store fresh herbs so that you can get the most out of them. And we don’t blame you! Fresh herbs are one of the greatest things about summer. They add flavor to any dish and make everything taste a little brighter.
Whether you’ve just brought them home from the farmers’ market or you plucked them form your own window box or garden, we’ve got two of the best ways to store fresh herbs to keep them fresh to use over the next few days, at least.
After all, what is a sadder sight in the kitchen than a wilted $4 bunch of parsley in the produce drawer?
Store fresh herbs in jars of water: Pretty and practical.
Delicate herbs like parsley, dill, and basil can be easily stored in a jar of water in the fridge to keep them fresh. (See photo above.)
If your kitchen is cool enough and you plan to use them relatively soon, you can even keep them on the counter, bringing the look of fresh-cut foliage into your kitchen. It’s simple:
- Snip off the bottoms of your herbs, ideally on the diagonal so they can take in more water through the stems
- Dry the leaves by dabbing with a dry towel.
- Put them in a small jar of water. (This really makes that jar a vase, right?)
- Keep them in the fridge.
Make sure to change out the water as you notice discoloration. Depending on how fresh the herbs were to begin with, changing the water should extend their life by a few days.
No more slimy cilantro the morning after Pad Thai night!
Store hardier herbs in a damp paper towel.
The other best way to store herbs to keep them fresh, particular with tougher, longer-lasting herb like rosemary and sage, is to wrap them loosely in a damp paper towel. You can also us a damp thin cotton dish towel or scrap from old (clean!) t-shirts if you like to go the reusable route.
After wrapping them, store your herbs in an airtight container or bag in the fridge to keep them fresher, longer.
Related: From yard to table: Fantastic family-friendly recipes for the most popular homegrown vegetables.
Bonus: How to use up your herbs when they start to wilt
As your herbs start to turn, I suggest using them right away in a recipe that calls for a lot of fresh herbs, like Martha Rose Shulman’s Pasta with Lemon, Herbs, and Peas in The New York Times.
Alternatively, you can turn your herbs into a quick pesto and freeze in a plastic freezer bag or small mason jars for several months. Or, keep it in the fridge and eat it within the week.
In fact, check out our four mouthwatering, simple pesto recipes for inspiration. And here’s to a summer full of fresh herbs!
Photos: Anne Wolfe Postic for Cool Mom Eats