How To: Store and Freeze Fresh Herbs
When it comes to gardening, I’ve shared before that I have a bit of a black thumb, but ironically, I can care for a bunch of fresh herbs once they’ve been uprooted from their soil.
Keeping fresh herbs fresh can be tricky, but if stored and cared for properly, they can last from several days to a week and a half, depending on the herb.
Here are some of my most favorite tips and tricks for keeping your herbs healthy, happy and ready for your next delicious dish:
How To Store…
Tender Herbs: Basil • Chervil • Chives • Cilantro • Dill • Mint • Parsley • Tarragon
• Treat these herbs like you would a bouquet of flowers. Snip off the bottom stems and place in a small glass filled with about 3 inches of water. Store in a cool corner away from direct sunlight. Change the water daily.
• You can also wrap these herbs loosely in a damp paper towel or plastic bag and place in the refrigerator. With both methods, the herbs will stay fresh for several days.
• Do not rinse these herbs ahead of time. Cut off the portion that you need, rinse and pat dry just before using them. If using a large bunch of herbs, submerge them in a large bowl of cold water and gently move around to release dirt. Then lift them out of the water and pat dry between paper towels.
• Herbs like chives, chervil, tarragon or basil should be handled as little as possible, and delicately.
Robust Herbs: Bay Leaf • Marjoram • Oregano • Rosemary • Sage • Savory • Thyme
• These herbs can be stored in paper or loose plastic (either keep it loose or puncture some air holes to let out moisture). They can also, like tender herbs, be kept in a glass filled with a small amount of water, topped with a perforated plastic bag and set in the refrigerator for several days.
• You can also simply hang these herbs upside down in your kitchen, where they will dry slowly.
How To Freeze…
If you need to store fresh herbs for a long period of time, consider freezing them. Stored properly, frozen herbs can last up to one year.
Here are a few methods:
• Pack the herb leaves into the bottom of a quart-sized resealable bag, making a 1-to-2 inch layer. Then tightly roll the bag, secure with rubber bands, and freeze. Use slices from the roll as needed.
• Store in sealed canning jars.
• Remove the herbs’ stems, rinse, pat dry and blend them with just enough water to make a paste-like liquid. Pour into an ice-cube tray and freeze. You can keep the herb cubes in freezer bags and later drop them into soups and stews as needed.