There is nothing quite like the flavor of fresh herbs! In the summer, I grow herbs in my garden so it’s really inexpensive to just pinch a few sprigs out when I’m cooking. I do dry any leftover herbs at the end of the year.
When the weather is colder, I do use dried or frozen herbs but I still really enjoy buying fresh! In the cooler months you can get herbs for just a couple of dollars each so I try to choose at least one or two to use throughout the week. The flavor they add is amazing. While fresh herbs can be a little bit pricey but I’ve found a way to keep my herbs fresh for a couple of weeks! This not only saves me from throwing them out, but it gives me a long time to enjoy them!
Just as with eating, it’s all about the eyes and the nose. Fresh herbs should smell, well…. fresh. A musty or “old” smell is never a good sign. They should also smell flavorful. Of course, they shouldn’t be wilted, brown or yellow, or spotty. Look for bright, firm healthy looking plants. If they are coming packaged, be sure to reach to the back and double check the dates to get the freshest herbs available!
How to Keep Your Herbs Fresh
To keep fresh herbs in the fridge for weeks (instead of days) I store them similarly to storing fresh flowers.
- Rinse your herbs under fresh cool water. Very gently spin or shake dry.
- Snip off the ends and any pieces that don’t look fresh
- Trim the bottoms of the herbs and remove any leaves on the bottom 2 inches of the stems
- Fill a mason jar (or an herb keeper) with about 1″-2″ of cold water
- Very loosely cover the herbs with a produce bag or freezer bag (you don’t need to seal it, just place it overtop)
- Store in the refrigerator. Change water every 3-4 days
If you prefer you can purchase an Herb Keepers on Amazon (with free shipping). These work great but basically work the same way as the method above. The only nice thing about the herb keepers is that they don’t spill over if you’ve got kids rummaging through the fridge! If you choose the larger size, this is not only great for most herbs but you can use it for things like asparagus and celery too!.
There are two options when freezing fresh herbs!
Dry Freeze: First chop the herbs as you would if you were going to cook with them. This will make them much easier to cook with in the future. After you have done that, spread the on a cookie sheet and then put them into the freezer. This will prevent clumping. Once frozen, transfer the herbs to a bag or other storage container. Please keep in mind that the herbs’ color may change (they will still have great flavor).
Oil Freeze: I love this way of preserving fresh herbs! Rinse and dry your fresh herbs as with the dry freeze method. Once dry, place chopped herbs in an ice cube tray. Top each space with olive oil and freeze. Once frozen, remove from the ice cube tray and store in a labelled freezer bag in the freezer! When you’re ready to use the herbs, no need to defrost! Just drop the frozen cube right into your pan or recipe!
Drying herbs is an easy way to ensure you have yummy flavors for a long time to come! Not only is it easy but it’s a great way to preserve large amounts of herbs. Rinse and dry your fresh herbs as with the dry freeze method.
Shake of any moisture and bundle your herbs in small bundles and hang upside down in a dark place to dry OR if you are drying only a small amount, for example a little bit of leftover parsley, chop the herbs off of the stems and place in a thing single layer on paper towels. Allow to air dry on the counter for a couple of days, mixing or stirring occasionally to ensure it all dries out.
Once completely dried, store in a small tightly sealed container. There are tutorials for drying herbs in the microwave or oven but I find I get the best and most natural flavor from air drying.