If you have a nice little herb garden growing this summer, you’ve likely dealt with the perils of trying to make fresh herbs last (just because you have a green thumb doesn’t mean you have the ability to keep herbs fresh for days after they’ve been picked). Basil, parsley, tarragon–they can do wonders to amp up the volume of simple dishes and save you from spending a boatload on herbs at the grocery store. If you want to make your fresh herbs last so they can be used next week and even next month, check out this handy guide:
How to Store Fresh Herbs
Whether you grow your own fresh herbs or enjoy buying bunches at your local farmer’s market, there’s a simple storage solution you can use to make them last longer. If they’re leafy like parsley, mint or cilantro, wash the herbs immediately and cut between 1/8 and 1/4 inch off the bottom of the stems. Place them in a jar full of water with a produce bag or paper towel covering them, and stick them in the fridge. Leafy fresh herbs need to be treated just like fresh flowers–keep them moist, but with plenty of room to breathe. They could last up to a month!
How to Dry Fresh Herbs
If your tiny apartment garden is producing more fresh herbs than you know what to do with, drying them can be a great solution. While they won’t be as aromatic as fresh herbs, dried herbs are great for cooking soups, stews and chilis. Begin by washing the herbs, then lay them out to dry on paper towels. Next, use twine to tie the stems together so that they create bouquets. Hang them upside-down along the window sill – the sun will dry them and you’ll have something beautiful to look at! After a week or so the herbs will be dry and crisp, and you can store the leaves in jars until you’re ready to use them.
How to Freeze Fresh Herbs
If you want to store fresh herbs over the long term–let’s say, several months–freezing them is without a doubt the best option. Mince your favorite fresh herbs and pack them tightly into an ice cube tray, covering them with water before putting the tray in the freezer. While they won’t exactly be crisp when you take them out of the freezer, frozen herbs, like dried ones, are great for cooking. This method works best with fresh herbs of the leafy variety.