How to Properly Store Herbs
Aromatic herbs are amazing. Not only do they smell delightful, but they can really add fantastic flavor and freshness to our dishes without much effort. There is something about having fresh and fragrant herbs readily available to you that will inspire you to cook amazing dishes and spend more time in the kitchen.
From delicious salads, herby plant-based risottos, homemade dairy-free pesto, and fresh salsas, having an abundance and variety of herbs will take your plant-based cooking journey to a whole new level. But there’s one problem, cut herbs tend to go bad rather as quickly as your motivation can for prepping a home-cooked meal. How can we optimally store herbs to make them last longer? We will learn the best tips and tricks to make the most of your precious green and tasty herbs!
First things first, let’s learn a bit about them and why we should include them in our diet!
Where do I Get My Herbs From?
- Grocery Store: You should be able to find most of the herbs used for cooking at your local grocery store. Next time you go to get your weekly staples, navigate the fresh isles and pick a few to experiment.
- Farmers Market: If you’re looking for more freshness, then taking a trip to your weekly local farmer’s market might be a good call. You will find produce from local farmers without having the middle element of the grocery store. Plus, it’s colorful, pretty awesome for snapping Instagram photos, and a great way to meet neighbors or make new friends.
- Grow them yourself: This will not only guarantee you the ultimate freshness but you will find so much joy in growing something from scratch and harvesting yourself, and the best thing about it is that it’ll also save you money! Even if you have a very reduced space like a windowsill, growing your own herbs can be an amazing experience! Find more budget-friendly gardening tips on our gardening section on the blog!
How to Store Herbs for Ultimate Freshness?
For storing herbs properly in the fridge there are two methods we can turn to:
In a Jar With Water: This method is great for those softer herbs which need moisture at the bottom to stay crisp and fresh. This method works best for mint, parsley, basil, dill, cilantro, and tarragon.
Basically, you’ll cut the tips of the herbs and add them to a glass of water as you would fresh-cut flowers. If you want to have it last even longer, store the glass in the refrigerator with a plastic bag over it.
In an Airtight Container Covered with a Damp Paper Towel: for other herbs, like rosemary, oregano, chives, sage, and thyme, it is best to keep moisture out. By wrapping them in a damp kitchen towel you can prevent them from drying out but you keep the oxygen away by placing them in an airtight container.
Which Are The Best Cooking Herbs?
Who doesn’t love this ultra aromatic and pretty-looking herb? Pesto lovers, I see you! But basil is not only delicious, but it also has amazing nutritional qualities like magnesium which can help with blood circulation. Its two most used varieties include sweet basil (the most common one!) and Thai basil which has a slightly more peppery taste.
Another very common herb widely used in culinary preparations, parsley can be so much more than just a decorative topping. Its fresh taste and smell make it perfect for cold recipes such as our Green Goddess Dressing or warm ones like this Matzo Ball Soup! It is also packed with Vitamin K, A, and C.
Some people love it, others don’t. Cilantro (also known for its seed pods called Coriander) has a strong taste and aroma which can cause strong love or hate reactions to those eating it. It has such a particular taste and can add incredible freshness to our dishes. It’s what makes guacamole so fragrant after all, so we have to love it. It has amazing antioxidant properties so make sure you add some to your diet.
This small-leafed herb is a great one to start with if you’re a bit hesitant. It has a lemony taste similar to oregano, and it goes great with Italian-style dishes like tomato sauces and risottos. It is also a great source of Vitamin K and C and can help boost your immunity.
No Italian dish would be complete without some fragrant oregano. Usually used dried, it goes so well with pizzas, lasagnas, and pastas. Its round leaves contain amazing aromas and incredible flavor, which makes it a chef favorite. It is also high in antioxidants and antibacterial properties.
This special peppery herb can be used in both savory and sweet recipes. It has a very fresh and lemony taste which makes it ideal for yogurt dressings, garden peas salads, and middle eastern-inspired couscous dishes. Apart from being a good source of Vitamin A, mint has great digestive properties so make sure you use some to prepare a cozy cup of mint tea and relax.
If you decide to put it in your garden, though, know that it grows like a weed and is best for a big container.
This might not be the most known herb out there, but its soft and light green leaves have an amazing aroma and incredible taste. Our favorite way to eat is with some gnocchi sauteed with plant-based butter and adding it to a delicious spring frittata. Also high in Vitamin K, it also packs a good amount of magnesium, zinc, and copper.
This fuzzy herb is basically similar to the top of a fennel bulb and it has a very delicate and fresh flavor, which makes it ideal for creamy dressings, cucumber salads, and pickling cucumbers. It is also a great source of vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin A.
This woody herb has a strong flavor and fragrance we love. It has a hard stem and long leaves and it pairs beautifully with roasted potatoes with garlic. But it not only gives us amazing woodsy vibes, but it also has amazing antioxidants and can easily grow in your garden without much extra care.
It’s not only great for eating, we also recommend using it to freshen the scent of your home.
Another herb that has many supporters and many detractors. Its onion and garlic-like taste can be a little aggressive but also bring lots of flavors. With its long and delicate stems, it goes amazingly well in potato salads and creamy preparations. It contains Vitamin K, choline, and folate (which can improve memory).
With a licorice-like flavor, this herb is very special and not used too often. It has been widely used in French cuisine as a part of a few of their signature sauces like hollandaise and bechamel. Its tender leaves are great for salads and vegetable-focused dishes. Tarragon contains iron and potassium among other amazing nutrients.
Technically a tree, dried bay leaves are widely used as a herb to flavor a variety of dishes such as flavorful stocks and rich tomato sauces. The leaves are not consumed but used to add flavor via a slow-release during the cooking duration.
Why Do Herbs Go Bad So Quickly in the Fridge?
The main reason herbs don’t do very well when stored in the fridge is moisture. Some cut herbs tend to get slimy when exposed to too much of it.
Should I Wash My Herbs Before Storing Them?
Absolutely. You can quickly rinse them in cold water and then pat dry them carefully so as to not damage the leaves. Make sure you dry them properly with a dry paper towel. Take this as your first step before storing them.
We hope these tips and tricks help encourage you to buy more fresh herbs and experiment with them in the kitchen! Let us know in the comments which ones are your favorite ones and if you have any secret tips for keeping them fresh for longer!