Now that summer has arrived, it’s a perfect time to incorporate fresh herbs into your seasonal dishes. Fresh herbs can bring fresh flavor to a dish, especially when sprinkled in near the end of cooking.
When it comes to buying and storing fresh herbs, many people wonder how to keep them fresh longer. It can get expensive when you have to buy a whole bunch of cilantro that only lasts for one use! There is an art to storing fresh herbs, and if stored correctly, they can last from one to two weeks, allowing for use in several different recipes so that you get your money’s worth.
- Wrap the stems in a damp paper towel and place in a zip-top plastic bag to keep in a refrigerator.
- Wash fresh herbs just before use. The most effective way is to submerge them in a bowl of cool water, shake off the excess water, and gently pat dry with a paper towel.
When available, choose fresh bunches of herbs over those prepackaged in small plastic boxes. The bunches tend to be fresher than prepackaged herbs.
- Look for herbs that look bright green, leafy and fresh. If they look dull and wilted, they will probably taste dull!
Once you’re ready to cook with your perfectly chosen, fresh herbs, you will need to prepare them. Some herbs have such tender stems they do not need stemming and can be used directly in your dish; however, many fresh herbs have tough stalks and will need stemming.
- Rosemary and thyme: Hold the top of the stem with one hand and pull down with your other hand to separate the leaves from the stem.
- Mint, oregano, tarragon, and sage: Leaves can be pinched off the stem very easily.
Not to stem:
- Cilantro, dill, and parsley: Chop the leaves along with the soft stems.
Using fresh herbs may take a little more work than dried herbs, but when you taste your flavorful dish, you will realize why you bought those fresh herbs!
Be sure to check out our guide to How to Substitute Dried Herbs for Fresh
Recipes Using Fresh Herbs: