If you love the look, smell and flavor of fresh herbs, it’s important to know how to keep them. Here are some tips for how to clean, store and chop fresh herbs you really need to know.
Fresh herbs are probably the most aromatic organic thing in your garden. I just love their fragrant scents! The thing about herbs is that the best way to use them is at their freshest, or in their moisture-free state (dried, from).
Anything between fresh and dry, a wilted herb, is not pleasing! So, we, home cooks only have two choices — fresh or dry. If you have herbs in your garden, congratulations! You get a steady supply of your favorite herb in its freshest form.
However, not all of us have our own herb gardens. Some people just don’t have time or space to plant their own kitchen herbs.
For most of us, we need a way to keep store-bought herbs fresh, longer. How do we store fresh herbs? It’s not as complicated as chemistry! Here’s everything you need to know about how to clean, store and chop fresh herbs.
How to Clean, Store and Chop Fresh Herbs
Wash Before Storing
Some people will disagree with washing your herbs first before storing them. Well, that idea is applicable during the time that the salad spinner wasn’t invented yet! Plants derive their nutrition from the soil where they are planted. As long as they are planted, they can fight off the germs from the soil.
But as soon as they are harvested, they are no longer capable of resisting these bacteria. Washing your herbs is a wise choice to ensure that you get rid of nasty germs that can lead to decay. Thoroughly wash them first using your salad spinner and dry them off using paper towels to take out excess moisture.
Storing Fresh Herbs
It’s quite hard to buy a bundle of herb just enough for a few slices of steaks, or salmon, or salsa. Most often than not, you end up with more leftovers. Now, this is where proper storage comes in handy. Don’t throw them out yet!
Wash and store in a zipper bag.
After washing and drying your herbs, get a clean pair of kitchen hears first. Snip off the bottom parts and any yellowish or discolored leaves. These leaves may go bad when stored, and they may spread. This is where decay may start. Carefully watch out for this to prolong storage life.
Put them inside a zipper bag, remove excess air and put it in the fridge
Pro-tip 1: heat up the blade of your kitchen shears to kill the residing bacteria.
Pro-tip 2: Moisture is your number one enemy. The presence of moisture will be the start of decay! Roll your herbs on a sheet of paper towel before putting it inside the zipper bag.
Pro-tip 3: Another neat trick you can do is place a silica gel (the small freshness pockets found on bottles of multi-vitamins) inside the zip bags to effectively remove excess moisture.
Hardy herbs like sage, thyme, and basil usually last about two weeks in the fridge. Tender herbs like parsley, coriander, and tarragon can last up to three weeks! That’s plenty of time to use them on other dishes!
Put it in a vase like a flower.
If you have enough fridge space, and a few spare minutes to prepare, you may opt to store it like a flower in a vase. After washing and trimming yellowish leaves as you do in the first method, place your herb stems down on a clean jar and put about an inch of water.
Make sure that the leaves are not submerged in water. Cover with a zipper or plastic bag (if it doesn’t fit in your jar) and seal the bottom to ensure that it’s air-tight. Herbs store this way can last for months in your fridge.
Chop and store.
Before going crazy over your Chinese cleaver and chopping your herbs to dust, make sure that you follow the cleaning procedure on method one. After thoroughly cleaning and drying your herbs, get a clean chopping board and start chopping as you would normally do.
Pro-tip 1: A wooden chopping board is a home to many bacteria, so clean it meticulously.
Pro-tip 2: To make sure that your chopped stored herbs will not turn into a mush, sterilize the knife you will use.
Pro-tip 3: A herb grinder eliminates both the chopping board and the knife.
Place your chopped herb inside a zipper bag and store it in the freezer. Chopped herbs will not last long in the fridge. Inside the freezer, they will last a few months long.
Throwing away leftover herbs is such a waste! Storing them properly can make them last fresher longer. The key for long lasting freshness is getting rid of moisture and making sure that you are using clean tools in preparing your herbs for storage.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Now that you know how to clean, store and chop fresh herbs, you can use them more often in your cooking!
Share this page with your fellow home cooks so they could use their leftover herbs too. Have questions? Leave it below, and I will get back to you soon.