Using fresh herbs in your cooking can elevate dishes to a whole new level. Aromatic, flavorful, and simply pretty to look at, fresh herbs are undoubtedly something that all aspiring classy home cooks should have on hand. But do you ever buy fresh herbs, leave them sitting on the counter or in the fridge, and days later they're as dry as a saltine cracker? And it's frustrating, because those bunches of herby goodness do not come cheap. How can you keep herbs fresh and ready-to-use for as long as possible, in order to get the most bang for your buck? Allow me to demonstrate.
If you want your herbs to be happy, you need to treat them like the beautiful bouquets they are. They deserve no less! In fact, if you really want your herbs to last, think of them (get this) as flowers. Surprising, right?
Here's what you do: when you buy fresh herbs, just like when you pick up a bouquet of flowers, the first step is to trim their stems. Then, place them in a glass filled with an inch or so of water. From here, the approach differs based on the herb in question:
Leave the glass at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Refrigerating will turn basil's leaves black. Keeps for about 2 weeks.
Tender Herbs: Parsley, Cilantro, Dill, Mint, Tarragon
Cover the glass with an overturned plastic bag. Fix in place with a rubber band. Store in the refrigerator. Keeps for about 3 weeks.
Hardy Herbs: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Chives
For these, you can ditch the glass and water approach. Wash them, dry them with a kitchen towel or salad spinner, roll up in single layer on a slightly damp paper towel, place in a sealable plastic baggie, and store in the fridge.