Question about fresh herbs..............

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-2002
Question about fresh herbs..............
Sun, 07-27-2003 - 9:31am
While grocery shoppping yesterday I picked up a bunch of different fresh herbs.

I have always run into problems trying to use them up before they go bad. Any one else like to use fresh herbs? How do you store them?

I have tried washing them wrapping in paper towels and then into a zip lock bag. Also have tried putting them into a crock in water and either put into refrig or on counter. The only herb I have been able to keep longer then a couple of days is basil in water. Any one have any tips for keeping fresh herbs fresh?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2003
Mon, 07-28-2003 - 7:23am
I looked this up online and found the following (all copied from HOpe it helps. I am clueless about fresh herbs, so I learned something myself.


Some herbs can be safely stored at a cool room temperature:

Basil - 2-3 weeks

Chervil - 1 week

Parsley - 1-2 weeks

Rosemary - 2-3 weeks (refrigerate if stems are very green and supple, but keep at room temperature if they're woody)

Others need to be refrigerated:

Cilantro - 1-2 weeks

Mint - 3-4 weeks

Oregano - 3-4 weeks

Sage - 3-4 weeks

Tarragon - 3-4 weeks

Thyme - 4-6 weeks

Preserving Herbs

One of the most wonderful aspects of herbs is the way they can be preserved for another day, bringing scents of last spring and summer to the table even as snow covers the ground outside. If growing your own herbs, you should harvest just before flowering for greatest concentration of flavor.

The easiest and most classic method, appropriate for most herbs, is Air Drying: Rinse well and blot dry with towels. Arrange the stems in bundles about ¾ inch thick and tie with string or raffia, leaving one long end to the string so that bundles can be suspended. Hang the herbs (stems ups) in a dry, dark, warm place, preferably not over 90 degrees F. Air should circulate freely, but don't worry too much if conditions are not perfect. The process may take longer than expected, but herbs will dry in most locations that are not extremely humid. Check leaves as they dry; they should crumble easily within two or three weeks. When thoroughly dried, strip the herbs from their stems and store in airtight containers to preserve aromas and protect them from dust.

For small amounts of herbs, Microwave Drying is quick and easy. Line a microwave platter with a paper towel and scatter the washed herbs (leaves only) over it; a slight overlap is acceptable. Cover with another paper towel and microwave at full power for 60-90 seconds. Check the leaves for dryness, continuing to microwave for 30 seconds at a time until they are crisp. If the paper smokes or looks ready to burn, stop oven immediately but do not open the door; wait a minute for contents to cool first. Store the dried herbs in an airtight container.

The third method, Freezing, gives the freshest flavor but is most time consuming. The washed whole herbs should be laid out in a single layer on baking sheets, frozen, and then scooped into airtight containers as soon as they are hard. To use, simply chop the herbs while frozen and use immediately.

Most herbs will darken slightly when frozen, which may not matter if they will be cooked in a soup or stew. If appearance matters, you can blanch the leaves by the handful in boiling water for two to three seconds, then skim them into ice water to cool, dry on towels, and freeze on baking sheets as above. This method keeps the leaves of very succulent herbs like basil, tarragon and mint green even when defrosted.

TracyPalmPoster.jpg picture by cl-daisy526
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-2002
Tue, 07-29-2003 - 7:26pm
Thanks for the info Tracy. I have dried and frozen herbs before and still do if I have too many to use up right away. I will have to try the room temp thing and see how that goes.


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