02/03/2014 02:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Best Ways to Store Fresh Herbs

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: A lesson on keeping your fresh herbs fresh.

Fresh herbs from Food52

There are few things as inspiring as a beautiful bunch of fresh herbs. We love you, salt and pepper, but only fresh herbs have the special power to transform a dish with nothing more than a few small leaves.

It’s fun to buy beautiful bouquets of fresh parsley, sage, and thyme on your Sunday market trip and envision all of the beautiful meals you will make in the coming week. (It’s even better when you can buy them at the farmers market and impulse-buy a cider donut or kettle corn). 

But what happens by the time Thursday rolls around, and those perky green herbs have turned wilted and swampy in the fridge, just when you were about to whip up a batch of pesto?

Say goodbye to dull, limp herbs. Here’s how to keep your fresh herbs fresh all week long.

Fresh herbs from Food52

First, sort your herbs.

Herbs fall into two categories: hard and soft. Soft herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, and tarragon have soft, tender stems. Hard herbs have woody stems, and include rosemary, oregano, marjoram, and thyme.

Read more: How to dry your herbs.

Next, store them properly.

Fresh herbs from Food52

Now that you’ve organized your fresh herbs, store them so they last.

Soft herbs like to be treated as you would a bouquet of flowers. Snip the base of the stems and put them in a glass of fresh water, changing out the water every day or two if it starts to cloud. Basil should be kept at room temperature, but a glass filled with other soft herbs should go in the fridge, loosely covered with a plastic bag.

Read more: How to preserve fresh herbs.

Store your hard herbs by wrapping them first in a damp paper towel, then loosely in plastic wrap, and keeping them in your crisper. (If you’re going green, a damp kitchen towel and airtight container works perfectly well.)

Fresh herbs from Food52 Fresh herbs from Food52

A final tip: Don’t wash fresh herbs until they are ready to be used; it will add excess moisture and waste time.  

What are your tips for keeping herbs fresh? Let us know in the comments!


This article originally appeared on The Best Ways to Store Fresh Herbs

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