The Best Short-Term AND Long-Term Storage for Fresh Herbs
Posted Jul 26 2012 9:37pm
Honestly, the best way to keep herbs fresh for the longest period of time is to keep their roots firmly planted in the soil, where they will be nourished and happy for several months at least.
But if you, like me, cannot keep a dill plant alive to save your life, then you might benefit from these tips. (Oh, don’t worry; I will persevere in my yearly attempt to kill grow dill, but so far, I haven’t managed to keep it growing for longer than a couple weeks. Yeah, that was probably the record.) And, thankfully, these tips will also apply to a large number of other herbs, if you are also very good at killing those (Or if you just don’t have room for potted herbs. Or if it’s the winter and herbs would die anyway.)
I offer you my two favorite solutions for fresh herb storage (aside from the so-fresh-its-still-alive variety) that I have just hit upon this summer (all hail the mighty Pinterest !).
Short-Term Refrigerator Storage
OK, so this tip has been around a while, and I may have even tried it once or twice back in the day, but then I guess I forgot about it. The past few times I have purchased a bunch of fresh herbs, I tried the method where you stick it in a jar of water and either leave it on the counter at room temperature or put it in the fridge.
Maybe I did something wrong, but that didn’t work for me. Leaving it on the counter was a total disaster: the bunch of cilantro I was trying to keep fresh wilted the first day, and completely withered away the second day. Sadness. Good thing I only wasted $0.69!
I’ve tried the half-full glass of water in the fridge on multiple occasions, but you know what always happens? I bet you do know, because I bet the same thing happens to you (especially if you have those wired shelves, like me, instead of flat plastic or glass shelving) – inevitably, the glass tips over and spills the water everywhere.Annoying.
Plus, I find that even if I do manage to keep the jar or glass upright, the herbs don’t stay fresh for much longer than a few days. How am I supposed to use up a huge bunch of cilantro in that amount of time? Well, I guess I probably could if I put my mind to it. But I usually don’t.
Enter my now-favorite tip that I have (re)discovered:
Wrap a damp paper towel around the fresh herbs and place in a zippered plastic bag.
Press out all the air and seal it shut. Refrigerate.
It’s like magic! The dill in that picture is a week old and is still fresh and yummy. I used some for dinner tonight, and have enough for a few more dinners. A couple of the fronds at the end froze just a bit in the fridge, but for the most part, it’s still in fabulous condition. I am now going to store all my fresh herbs in this manner! From hereon and henceforth.
But… I probably won’t actually get around to using all that dill in the next week. So, I need a long-term storage solution.
Long-Term Freezer Storage
I’m no stranger to freezing herbs; I have done it on many occasion. I’ve tried just sticking the herbs straight up into little freezer baggies. I’ve tried freezing them in a little water in ice cube trays. I’ve tried pureeing them and freezing them in ice cube trays. All of those methods will work to one extent or another.
But now… I’ve taken the ice cube tray to a whole new level and added oil! Many thanks to The Gardener’s Eden for this fabulous idea! So far, this is my very favorite way to freeze herbs for later use. It won’t work for every use, but you can try freezing them in water or broth instead if you prefer. In any case, this is a delicious and super simple way to freeze herbs.
How do you store your fresh herbs?