Food Trends

How to Store Fresh Herbs So They Last Longer

Tired of throwing out wilted, browning herbs after just a couple days? Here’s how to easily stretch out their longevity by weeks:

How to Prep Herbs For Storage

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

To wash or not to wash before storing? This is a contentious issue among chefs.

People in the “no wash” camp feel that it’s counterintuitive to add any excess moisture to fresh herbs, as wetness can speed up deterioration. There’s something to this theory: Wet herbs will quickly turn slimy.

However, we recommend washing to get rid of any grit, grime, or lingering bacteria and then completely drying herbs before storage.

The easiest way to clean your herbs is to:

  1. Rinse them thoroughly under cool water.
  2. Take them for a spin in your salad spinner. This’ll dry them quickly as well as remove the debris you didn’t catch while rinsing.
  3. If you don’t have a salad spinner, let the herbs sit on a paper towel until they are completely dry.

Soft vs. Hard Herbs

Herbs can be separated into two categories: hard and soft. How you deal with them depends on how they’re classified:

Soft Herbs

Soft herbs have soft, tender stems and leaves. Soft herbs you may be familiar with are:

  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Tarragon
  • Dill

Hard Herbs

Hard herbs have tougher, woodier stems. Hard herbs you may be familiar with are:

  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Marjoram

How to Store Soft Herbs

Treat soft herbs the way you would a bouquet of flowers: Trim the stems and place them stem-down in a shallow glass of water, changing the water when it gets murky (this is also the best way to store asparagus!).

If you want to go the extra mile, loosely cover the bouquet in a plastic wrap. This helps the herbs retain moisture in a dry environment and prevents oxygen from prematurely browning the leaves.

Most softs herbs do best in the refrigerator. The only soft herb you shouldn’t keep in the fridge is basil—basil bouquets should stay at room temperature.

How to Store Hard Herbs

Keep hard herbs fresh for longer by loosely wrapping them in a damp paper towel or a damp kitchen towel. The moist bundle should go in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer or in an airtight, refrigerator-safe container (like a zip-top bag).

How to Store Soft and Hard Herbs

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It’s important to note that these tips, while useful, aren’t foolproof. Your herbs may stay fresh longer or shorter than expected depending on a variety of factors.

If you’re serious about your herbs (who isn’t?!), you may want to invest in this handy dandy little gadget from Prepara.

The Herb Savor Eco Food Storage Container works for both hard and soft herbs, is designed to fit easily into a refrigerator door, and is more reliable than other storage methods.

“This herb savor way surpassed my expectations,” one 5-star reviewer says. “I can’t believe I was without it for so long! Highly recommend this product for keeping herbs fresh!”

“Oh my gosh. Where have these been all my life? Work perfectly, extending the life by 10 days,” according to another. “I can not recommend these enough. I went back for a second one. Fresh parsley and cilantro when I need it. I'm in heaven.”

How Long Do Fresh Herbs Last?

Fresh herbs can last up to three weeks if stored properly. Of course, all herbs are not created equal—some types naturally keep longer than others.

These herbs typically last about three weeks:

  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Rosemary
  • Dill
  • Tarragon

These herbs, meanwhile, typically last about two weeks:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • Sage

Put your fresh herbs to use in the kitchen! Subscribe to the Cooking Light Diet today and start creating customizable meal plans that incorporate all your fresh produce.

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