Following are some tips on how to store, dry, and freeze your favorite fresh herbs! Per Wikipedia, an herb
The video above basically covers just one method of preserving fresh herbs so that they last much longer, although the article below will also cover the other ways you can use to preserve those fresh herbs.
One of the most important ingredients that you can add to your cooking is fresh herbs. Whether they are fresh chopped or simply dried, herbs are full of flavor that can never be replicated and that you need to always have on hand.
It doesn’t matter if you got them at a grocery store, from the back garden, or from a farmer’s market, fresh herbs are a great addition to any kitchen or pantry. There are tons of kinds of herbs that you can use in your cooking. You can use these herbs as the backbone of a lot of different sauces as well. For example, pesto would not be pesto without basil.
The problem is often that once fresh herbs are purchased, within a few days of purchasing, they lose their bright, vibrant green color, and you are left with yellowing parsley and wilted basil instead. You will learn how to store, dry, and freeze herbs to prolong their useful life, so you won’t have to use them when they’re wilted and no longer fresh!
As a beginning rule of thumb, you should always discard any wilted and yellow leaves, regardless of whether there is a root attached or not.
If you are using an herb bundle, cutting off the ends of the stems is always a good idea. Once you’ve done that, you want to wash and dry them thoroughly with a salad spinner or a paper towel.
Difference Between “Tender” and “Hardy” Herbs
Firstly, let’s take a look at your herbs.
It’s likely that the stems of your herbs are going to fall into the category of “tender herbs,” if they are tender and green. There are many types of plants in this category and some of the most common ones are basil, cilantro, mint, parsley, dill, and tarragon.
Hardy herbs, on the other hand, usually contain a hardwood stem that you would not want to eat, so those herbs should be considered hardy herbs. Herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage are some of the herbs that are part of this category. Obviously, this is important in determining how to store them because the hardier ones are – you guessed it – hardier (“stronger”) than the others.
In order to properly store your herbs, you have to first distinguish between soft and hard herbs.
In general, soft and more delicate herbs, such as parsley, coriander, dill, and mint, are best stored in a glass with a layer of 2 – 3 cm (1 inch) of water and placed in the refrigerator. It is a good idea to cover the glass with plastic wrap or a small plastic bag, and seal it with a rubber band if the glass is tall enough. This will ensure that the herbs stay moist and will not be affected by fluctuations in the fridge’s temperature. Using this method, you can keep herbs fresh for up to two weeks.
Hard and more steadfast herbs can be recognized by the wooden branches that they possess. These herbs include rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, and oregano, to name a few. It is widely known that hard herbs are often native to warmer climates and they therefore do not require a lot of water to grow. It is not necessary to place the herbs in water, but instead you should wrap the stems in a damp kitchen towel, place in a plastic container or wrap with plastic wrap, then place in a refrigerator. Using a damp paper towel will ensure that the herbs will not dry out and that they will remain fresh for up to two weeks.
Exception: Basil is one of the few plants that should never be stored in the refrigerator due to the fact that it cannot withstand the cold temperatures. You should keep basil at room temperature in a glass with a little water instead.
What about herbs that are packaged? Our general recommendation is to always purchase your herbs in bunches, as they are generally fresher, more sustainable, and tend to be cheaper as well. However, if you opt for pre-packaged herbs, it is recommended that you take them out of the packaging, wash, dry, and store them, as explained above, as soon as you purchase them, otherwise, they will wither significantly faster.
What about herb pots? It is important to keep delicate herbs in pots in a bright place, but not in direct sunlight or direct drafts as this will make them turn yellow extremely quickly. The best method is to water the plants lightly each day, with a spray bottle, to avoid dampening the soil too much and overwatering the plants.
If you are using basil, make sure you pick whole shoots rather than picking individual leaves. The ever popular parsley is a good idea to replant in a larger pot as it actually requires a lot more space than what can be found in the small plastic containers found at the supermarket. Once it has been repotted, you should be able to enjoy it for at least a few weeks after that.
After that, you will need to store them in an airtight container, where they can last for up to a year.
The air drying process is not only a great way to preserve herbs, but it also adds a beautiful touch to your kitchen decor! It is extremely easy to tie the stems together with kitchen twine and hang them in a dry place for approximately 10 days. 2 – 4 weeks.
Herbs can be stored in the freezer for later use
There are a lot of herbs that are ideal for freezing, including sage, thyme, parsley, mint, and cilantro. It is as simple as chopping them up, putting them into an ice cube mold, filling it with olive oil, and freezing them. Frozen this way, your herbs will last between 3 and 6 months and can be used for soups, stews, pasta sauces, teas, or soft drinks. You can, if you wish, also use broth or water as the liquid in which the herbs are frozen, although I have found that olive oil works best for me.