Fresh herbs are great to have on hand because they are an easy way to liven up a dish, whether during the cooking process or providing color at the end. Most recipes only call for a teaspoon here or a tablespoon there, so you either have to make them last for as long as possible, or cook big batches. Given that there are two of us in my household, the latter actually results in more waste and if you have read my previous blog posts, you will know that I cannot stand to throw away food.
Over the years, I have tried many different ways to store herbs. When I first started cooking, I would just leave them in the packaging they came in, then I moved on to wrapping them in paper towel and placing into a plastic bag. I finally think I have the best method to store herbs.
Start: I trimmed the rosemary, sage and thyme stems, placed the herbs in a mug, and covered it with a plastic bag. To show that this method makes a difference, I stored some of the herbs in its original packaging, placed it side by side in the refrigerator and tracked progress (decay) for three weeks.
One week later: I trimmed the stems a bit more and added fresh water to the mug. I noticed that the smaller sage leaves and some of the rosemary that were stored in the plastic container discoloring. Though you can’t really see it well in this picture, the herbs in the mug were all still good. During this time, I added mint to my experiment.
(Two weeks later: I trimmed and refreshed the water, but forgot to take pictures, so you’ll just have to trust me!)
Three weeks later: So that you can see them better, I placed each group of herbs onto a white piece of paper. The herbs on the left were stored in a mug whereas the herbs on the right were stored in their plastic container. As you can see, the herbs kept in a mug with a plastic bag did much better than the ones kept in original packaging. Rosemary was the most difficult to keep green. Note: I was able to keep the thyme fresh for another 2 weeks.
Again, the mint on the left were kept in a mug with a bag over it and the right were kept in its original plastic packaging, both were kept in the fridge. After two weeks, the mint that was stored in its original packaging was completely dried out.
Let us know in the comments if you have found a way to store herbs that work for you!