Adding fresh herbs to your recipe can mean the difference between a mediocre meal and one that is chock full of flavor. Some fresh herbs can be expensive and should you need more than one kind of herb, you can easily spend quite a bit of money on them. It's both useful and economical to know how to store fresh herbs, but it can be tricky when it comes to keeping them for any length of time.
There are several ways to store herbs that will help fresh herbs last in good, useable condition for up to 10-14 days. Here are some ideas:
Many people like to put fresh herbs in a glass or jar of water in the refrigerator. However, the wrapping method may be a better option if you want to avoid possible accidental spills. Wrap fresh herbs in a moist paper towel and store them in a resealable plastic bag. Keep the herbs moist but not wet. Check on them every few days, and if the paper towel feels dry, spray the bag with a little water or re-wrap the herbs in new moist paper towels. For the best results, place the bag in your refrigerator's crisper bin.
This method works particularly well for herbs like parsley or cilantro, although it can be used with any herb. Herbs like rosemary, thyme, or other herbs with woody stems tend to mold if they are around too much water. Make sure the paper towels are just damp and check the moisture level ever other day or so.
If you do want to store your fresh herbs in water, first trim the stems and then place them in a cup of cold water. Change the water and trim the stems again at least every other day.
Herbs like basil or mint are best kept at room temperature. Mint, in particular, will do fine sitting in a container of water on your windowsill. Cilantro and parsley prefer cooler temperatures. Cover the tops of these herbs with a loose plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator. The door is a good place to put them since it's the warmest part of the fridge.
If you don't want to use plastic in your kitchen, another successful method for keeping herbs fresh is to wrap them in a moist kitchen towel and store them in the crisper without the plastic bag. You should check on it every couple of days to make sure the towel hasn't dried out.
Fresh herbs can also be chopped or the leaves stripped from the stem and placed in an ice cube tray. Add water and freeze. When needed, just pop out and thaw the amount you need or simply add the whole cubes to recipes like soups, stews and sauces.