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I often get asked, “What is the best way to store fresh herbs?”
Let’s talk things like parsley, dill, cilantro, basil, etc., herbs that are tender.
If you are growing your own herbs, you can just go cut what you need from the garden when you need them. But at the end of the growing season you may have things you want to harvest before the first frost.
If you have enough parsley for three months. What do you do with it all?
Or if you buy some dill from the market because there’s none in your garden and you need it for a recipe, what do you do with the rest?
In the past I have usually brought herbs home from the market, washed and spun-dried them. Then I would roll out several sections of paper towel on the counter, depending on how much greenery I was storing, lay out the herbs on the towel, roll them up and stick them in the fridge inside a plastic bag.
This works pretty well. It’s important to undo a bundle of herbs so they are all spread out over the paper towels. If they are still clumped together, they will not keep fresh nearly as long and turn a yucky brown color that will make a skunk run the opposite direction.
Just recently a friend shared an idea for storing fresh parsley that I was dubious of. But I have tried it and it works very well, even better than the paper towel trick.
Clean and dry the parsley. Then put it in a glass jar with a folded-up paper towel on top. Then turn the jar upside down and stick it in the refrigerator. So when I just need one tablespoon of minced parsley for a recipe, I take out the jar, pick out just enough parsley and put the rest back in the fridge.
This has worked even better than rolling it up in a paper towel. I put a jar in the refrigerator about three weeks ago and that parsley is still fresh, fresh, fresh. I am pretty impressed.
I haven’t tried this with other herbs yet. But I have some cilantro I need to pick before the first frost hits us, so I’ll give that a try too.
If you have bucket loads of fresh herbs, this probably won’t work for all of it, but you can keep some of it this way just to have some that is fresh. The rest can be dried or frozen in ice cube trays, either with water or olive oil. That is never as satisfactory to me. When you thaw it out, it is not really fresh anymore. Good for soups, yes, but not in a salad or as a garnish.
As a disclaimer, I must say this parsley came fresh from the garden the day I did this. If you are using parsley from the grocery store, it may not last as long in the fridge because who knows when it was picked.
What is your favorite way to preserve fresh herbs? Please share in the comments below.James Early OG 365 Getting the most out of your garden all year long
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