How to store fresh herbs
Have you ever bought a bunch of fresh herbs, used the small amount the recipe called for and then found the rest have gone limp and brown within a day or two?
Adding fresh herbs to a meal is a great way to inject a lot of flavour, but unless you have a herb garden, buying herbs can be an expensive exercise if they go bad before you get the chance to use them.
How you store your fresh herbs can make a huge difference to how long they last. The best place to store your herbs is on the plant, but if you can’t grow your own, try these tricks.
HOW TO STORE SOFT HERBS: PARSLEY, BASIL, CORIANDER, MINT, DILL
Treat soft herbs like you would cut flowers – trim the stalks and then stick them into a glass or jar of water. For all soft herbs other than basil, keep the jar in the fridge. The key to success is to change the water daily.
Keep basil on the bench, not in the fridge, as the cool temperature is more likely to brown the leaves. Basil should last for about a week this way.
If you have a lot of basil or other herbs, make pesto. The pesto can be frozen until you need it.
To freeze soft herbs, chop them, mix with olive oil, butter or water, and then pour into an ice cube tray until it is about two thirds full then freeze. You can then use these as flavour bombs in cooking or as part of a salad dressing.
If your herbs have wilted, trim the stems and then soak in ice water for 10 minutes to revive them.
HOW TO STORE HARD HERBS LIKE ROSEMARY, THYME, SAGE, OREGANGO
These woody herbs will last longer than fresh ones, but it is important that you store them correctly to get the most out of them.
Wrap the herbs loosely in a slightly damp cloth or paper towel and place them in a bag in the high-humidity drawer of the refrigerator.
To freeze, wash the herbs (stalks attached), drain, and pat dry with a cloth. Wrap a few sprigs or leaves in cling wrap and put in an airtight container.
Alternatively, chop them then place them into an ice cube tray. Top up each cube with melted butter or oil (until it is about two thirds full then freeze). These flavour bombs are awesome for cooking meat in, spreading on toast or adding to dressings and sauces.
TIP: DRY HERBS IN THE MICROWAVE
Dying herbs in the microwave preserves their flavour better than using ovens or dehydrators.
To do this, remove stems, place herbs between two paper towels, and microwave on High (full power) for 1 minute. If not completely dry, continue to cook and check in 20-second intervals. Stop early if you smell burning.