From basil to oregano: How to keep your herbs fresh for longer

Dec 25, 2019
Buying herbs every time you need them can be expensive. Source: Getty

Herbs are great for adding flavour to your home-cooked meals, but it seems that no matter how fresh herbs look when you buy them, they never last more than a few days. So unless you’re doing a lot of cooking, you’re likely to have to buy more next time you visit the supermarket.

However, with a few simple food storage tips, you’ll be able to preserve your leftover fresh herbs ready to use the next time you need them. Plus, it’ll save you money! Read on to learn how you can store fresh herbs.

How to store soft herbs

How you store them depends on what type of herb it is! Treat soft herbs –  such as basil, mint, dill, coriander and parsley – like flowers. Trim the stems and then stick them into a glass or jar of water. Basil and mint do best at room temperature, while the others should be stored in the fridge. Trim the stems and change the water every couple of days. This will keep them fresh for much longer. Basil and mint should last for about a week this way, while fresh parsley, dill and coriander can last up to two weeks or longer.

If you have a lot of basil and mint leftover, why not whip up a delicious pesto sauce? Pesto works very well as a pasta topping, dotted onto a pizza base or as a salad dressing.

How to store hard herbs

Hard herbs like rosemary, thyme, chives, sage and oregano should be wrapped loosely in a damp paper towel. Store the bundle in an airtight container or plastic bag in the fridge. They should last for about two weeks or longer.

How to freeze fresh herbs

However, if you want to preserve the freshness all year long, freeze them. Some herbs that freeze well include basil, chives, dill, mint, oregano, sage and thyme.

Simply chop or tear up the herbs into smaller pieces, and place the pieces into an ice cube tray. Next, fill the ice cube tray with olive oil, and freeze. Pop the frozen cubes into a container labelled with which herb is which, and you’ll have them ready to pop straight into the pan next time you’re cooking! You can also store them flat in a freezer bag or in a freeze-safe container.

How to dry herbs

If you don’t fancy freezing your fresh herbs, you can also dry them! The most common dried herbs include oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, mint and basil. To air-dry your herbs, bundle four to six stems together and tie as a bunch with string, yarn, or a rubber band. Hang the bundles upside down in a warm airy room for a few weeks.

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How do you keep your herbs? What herbs do you use most in cooking?

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