Tutorial: How To Store Fresh Herbs

Tutorial: How To Store Fresh Herbs

Instead of posting a recipe for my usual “Easy Like a Sunday Morning” series, I thought I would put together a tutorial showing you how I store fresh herbs. Do you like cooking with fresh herbs? I know I sure do. Fresh herbs almost always find their way into my shopping cart when I’m at the Produce Store.

One thing that bugs me about buying fresh herbs, is they never stay fresh as long as needed. Often half of what I bring home, ends up in the compost. Insert frowning face here.

I tried all sorts of different ways to keep the herbs fresh long enough to use before they spoiled but nothing seemed to work all that well. That is until recently. I think I’ve got it figured out now. In case you’ve had similar problems with storing fresh herbs, I wanted to share this tutorial.

I’ve chosen to use cilantro here but this method works with other herbs as well. Cilantro is one herb that really loses its flavour when dried (or frozen). I always use cilantro fresh but it is so delicate, it usually spoils within a day, or two after getting it home.

I’ve had a bunch of cilantro in the fridge for over a week and it’s still as fresh if not fresher looking than the day I picked it up from the grocery store. I marked it with the date and I’m curious to see how long it will take before it turns yellow and starts to wilt.

Shall we get started? First, gather your supplies. You will need…

  • Handful of fresh herbs
  • Plastic bag. The produce bag your herbs came in is fine, as long as it’s not overly wet inside.
  • Glass jar or old drinking glass. Clear glass is best as it allows you to watch the water level. I use a small 250 ml (1 cup) Mason jar.
  • Fresh water.

Remove elastic bands and twist ties from your bunch of fresh herbs. Discard any yellowed, old-looking sprigs or stems. You can wash your herbs now but be sure to pat dry before proceeding. I prefer to leave mine to wash and pat dry just before using.

Insert bag into the jar. Open the bag, fold over the edges and drape them over the outside of the jar. Place herbs in the plastic lined jar, much the same as you would cut flowers in a vase.

Add an inch or two of water to the inside of the bag. You want enough water inside the bag to keep the stems wet but the leaves relatively dry.

Pull the sides of the bag up to cover herbs.

Tie the top of the bag loosely. You don’t want to make the bag airtight and it needs to be easy to untie the top of the bag whenever you need to grab some fresh herbs. The plastic bag is meant to keep the herbs from drying out too much but they need some fresh air to prevent mold from forming. If you would prefer to close the top of the bag with a small clip or a twist tie, you should poke a few vent holes in the bag below where you’ve closed it off.

I believe one of the keys to having herbs stay fresh, is to keep them chilled. Use the above method to prep and store herbs in the fridge. When you’re ready to use some, take the jar out of the fridge only long enough to remove the amount that you need. Return the remaining herbs to the refrigerator as soon as possible. It’s best not to let the jar reach room temperature in between times.

Do you, or would you, like to grow your own herbs? Here are a couple of things you might be interested in…

I’m currently growing Mint in a Mason Jar. I got the idea from Growing Herbs In A Jar by Homegrown And Healthy. Unfortunately, the Basil pictured above, didn’t survive the transplant trauma.

My Mint in a Mason Jar, not only survived being transplanted but is sporting some nice new green growth. Next up? I plan to try my hand at growing Rosemary in a Mason Jar.

Did you know that for the best tasting leaves, you should remove the flowering tops from herbs as soon as the buds appear.


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Laureen Fox
Laureen is an enthusiastic amateur cook and Canadian Food Blogger from Vancouver BC. She loves spending her days creating good wholesome food in this Fox Kitchen. Evenings will find her blogging about the best that living without gluten has to offer.

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  1. Vicky says:

    I love the idea of growing herbs in jars! They look so attractive too. I’ll certainly remember to take time to store my herbs properly after reading this!

    • Laureen says:

      Cut Basil started growing in your mason jars? you must have a much greener thumb than me. The starter plant I bought died a few days after being transplanted :(
      I have mint growing now. It’s doing much better :)

      • I was actually just being lazy. I didn’t want to keep going outside to get my herbs so I made a nice herb bouquet and thought I would just leave them on the counter until they died. Well, the basil didn’t die they just grew roots. My mint is taking over but Cilantro is the one I can’t seem to keep longer than 2 months.

  2. Pingback: Sunday Snippets
    • Laureen says:

      My fresh cilantro has been in the fridge for three weeks now. The leaves are getting a little soft and starting to lose a bit of fragrance but not yellow and wilted yet! A big difference from when I used to leave them sealed up in a plastic produce bag.

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