Fresh herbs can accumulate quickly in your refrigerator, whether you have a bunch of fresh herbs from the farmer’s market, your garden or the grocery store we are sharing tips on how to store them in your refrigerator so they remain fresh for as long as possible! If you are looking for how to preserve fresh herbs in your freezer, see this post!
How to Store Fresh Herbs So They Last
Using fresh herbs is a great way to brighten any dish and bring it from just ok to wow! But sometimes a little goes a long way with fresh herbs and you can be left with a whole lot leftover from one recipe. Or you have an overabundance of herbs from your summer CSA or your backyard garden and want to make them last as long as possible. We’re sharing all the ways we’ve succesfully stored fresh herbs in the refrigerator to get the maximum use out of them. If you are looking for ways to preserve fresh herbs in the freezer to last all year, check out this post here.
There are two main ways we recommend storing fresh herbs for maximum longevity in the refrigerator. But how you store them depends on what type of herb it is! Soft herbs, or herbs with a soft stem, such as cilantro, dill, parsley, basil should be stored liked fresh flowers, in a jar of water. Hard herbs, or herbs with a hard stem should be stored rolled in a slightly damn paper towel in a bag in the refrigerator.
How to Store Soft Herbs: treat as flowers
Storing soft herbs in jars with water prolongs the life of the herbs by keeping them alive like flowers.
Pro-tip: Don’t wash these herbs until right before use.
To store parsley, cilantro or dill cut off 1” of the stems and place in a jar with water and store in the refrigerator. We found it unnecessary (and wasteful) to place a plastic bag over the top of the herbs as they stayed just as fresh without one. Check and replace water as necessary, or every few days. Store until the leaves start to turn yellow or very limp, about 2-4 weeks (seriously).
To store fresh basil: cut off 1” of the stems place in a jar with water and store at room temperature just like fresh flower. Refresh water as necessary, or every few days. Store for about 1 week or until the basil has turned soft and limp. Please note: this only works with very fresh basil cut from a garden or the farmers market. The boxes of basil that you buy in the store is typically grown in green houses and are not hearty enough to be stored for longevity. Store bought green house basil must be used within a few days before it starts to go bad.
How to Store Hard Herbs: prolong moisture content
Storing hard herbs in damp paper towels prolongs their moisture levels and keeps them fresher, longer. You’ll notice there is one herb included in here that is not technically a hard herb: chives. Chives last the longest when they are frozen, see this post, but they can have a longer shelf life in the refrigerator when stored the same way as hard herbs.
To store sage, thyme, rosemary, mint, or chives: Clean and dry the herbs very well (see below for cleaning tips). Place in a pile in a slightly damp paper towel and wrap them up. Place inside of a plastic bag with a few punctured holes. Keep in the refrigerator about 1-2 weeks or more.
The Best Way to Clean Herbs
Herbs can be very dirty and gritty, whether coming from the supermarket or the farmer’s market. The best way to clean herbs is to fill up a big bowl with clean, cool water. Dunk the herbs in the water, letting all the dirt and grit sink to the bottom a few times. Empty the water, fill it back up and repeat until no sand or dirt remains at the bottom of the bowl.
It is best to dry herbs in a salad spinner. If you do not have that you can let the herbs dry in a clean kitchen towel, taking off as much water as possible.
Recipes that feature herbs:
- Sheet Pan Cod with Vegetables in Lemon Herb Sauce
- Sheet Pan Root Vegetable and Sage Pesto Salmon
- Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad
- Spinach Basil Pesto
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