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The Best Ways to Store Fresh Herbs

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Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: A lesson on keeping your fresh herbs fresh.

There are few things as inspiring as a beautiful bunch of fresh herbs. We love you, salt and pepper, but only fresh herbs have the special power to transform a dish with nothing more than a few small leaves.

It’s fun to buy beautiful bouquets of fresh parsley, sage, and thyme on your Sunday market trip, and to envision all of the beautiful meals you will make in the coming week. (It’s even better when you can buy them at the farmers' market and impulse-buy a cider donut or kettle corn.)

But what happens by the time Thursday rolls around, and those perky green herbs have turned wilted and swampy in the fridge, just when you're about to whip up a batch of pesto?

Say goodbye to dull, limp herbs. Here’s how to keep your fresh herbs fresh all week long.

Fresh herbs from Food52

First, sort your herbs:

Herbs fall into two categories: hard and soft. Soft herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, and tarragon have soft, tender stems. Hard herbs have woody stems and include rosemary, oregano, marjoram, and thyme.

Read more: How to dry your herbs.

Fresh herbs from Food52

Next, store them properly:

Now that you’ve organized your fresh herbs, store them so they last.

Soft herbs like to be treated like a bouquet of flowers. Snip the bases of the stems and put them into a glass of fresh water, changing out the water every day or two if it starts to cloud. Basil should be kept at room temperature, but other soft herbs should be loosely covered with a plastic bag, then placed in the fridge.

Read more: How to preserve fresh herbs.

Fresh herbs from Food52  Fresh herbs from Food52

Store your hard herbs by wrapping them first in a damp paper towel, then loosely in plastic wrap before placing them in your crisper. If you’re going green, a damp kitchen towel and an airtight container work perfectly well. 

A final tip: Don’t wash fresh herbs until they are ready to be used -- it will add excess moisture and waste time.  

What are your tips for keeping herbs fresh? Let us know in the comments!


Tags: Herb, DIY Food, How-To & Diy