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How to keep herbs fresh for longer use ??

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

There is nothing more that i love than cooking dishes with fresh herbs but im finding that i only get one use out of a small bag of them and by the time i want to use them again they have wilted :(

 

my dad had suggested that you can freeze herbs and we have tried that with no success. Can anyone tell me if there is a way for keeping fresh herbs for longer.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 19
If plucked off the stem leaves no way beyond drying. If on the stem wrap it in damp paper towel and put it in a zip lock bag
post #3 of 19

I have frozen herbs myself with great success. And that's from someone who hates freezer and anything frozen - but a few things...  like parsley or coriander-water:

 

Coriander water

3 cups tightly-packed cilantro leaves

1 1/2 cup water

Add cilantro and water to a blender or food processor. Puree until well blended. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze for later use. source: http://www.sltrib.com/contentlist/ci_3724991 

 

The parsley I chop and place in a glass jar. When I need it I pull the jar out, open, take a pinch of frozen parsley and add it to the hot dish as you would fresh parsley, and replace the jar in the freezer. 

 

When a bunch of cilantro is $2.50 you have to get creative. mad.gif


Edited by French Fries - 8/8/13 at 11:46pm
post #4 of 19

it depends on the herb.

you can easily chop and freeze cilantro, dill, parsley.

for the woody types of herbs, wrap in moist paper towel in a ziplock baggy, put in fridge.

check every day paper towel is still moist.

you can do this with mint too.

 

some herbs you can put in a glass jar with water, like parsley, mint, chervil.

you can dry mint well, thyme too. rosemary doesn't dry well neither does basil. 

 

just some 2 cents since you did not say which herbs.

I would suggest buying some pots of herbs and keep them in there, water regularly, is the cheapest way to keep fresh herbs and a nice selection.

most will do in half shade, depending on the herb ......think if the country where it originates and you will know which ones need sun etc.

post #5 of 19
You can successfully freeze herbs.

But I want to tell you of another way........

Grow your own. It's pretty easy to grow your own basil, parsley, thyme, and marjoram. In window boxes, as potted plants, what ever suits you.

I've had several Irishmen tell me that the weather in Dublin and in Vancouver--where I live, are very similar. I have a bay leaf tree growing in my garden, I do nothing to it, just let it grow. Once a year I have to trim the branches and give away a lot of bay leaves--fresh, green bay leaves to local restaurants and friends.

It sure beats buying herbs in little packets at the supermarket.......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #6 of 19

Yes that's a great point foodpump. I have rosemary, mint, bay leaves and lemongrass in my backyard but I need to add thyme, parsley and sage. 

post #7 of 19

I'm with foodpump; grow your own. I now have two large rectangle plant pots with wheels under them that I fill each year with frequently used young plants. These pots stay close to the house. Also, I have a lot of plants spread in the garden. Nothing beats freshly cut herbs.

 

In summer, I also regularly cut larger parts from rosemary bushes, sage, my own bay leaf tree that lives in a pot etc. and dry these for later use. Many of those dried herbs taste much stronger than fresh ones! Note; cutting down plants keep them young and virile.

So easy to do; cut some branches, wash thoroughly and dry... in a salad spinner. Put in an deep oven tray and cover loosely with a few sheets of newspaper. The paper easily absorbs moist but it also prevents drying herbs from going brown and it keeps dust and insects out! Put the tray in a warm sunny spot and in a week or so you have the dried herb. This is lemon verbena, should be in any foodies garden too for its heavenly fresh but strong lemon aroma. Another thing is that dried verbena makes a delightful tea it seems (couldn't confirm this; I hate tea, sorry).

Not all herbs can be dried; parsley doesn't work at all.

 

 

post #8 of 19

Every year we plant a lot of basil and when I harvest it I do one of three things. Use it fesh, make pesto and freeze it, or I puree it with olive oil and freeze it. The basil puree is a great way to use the basil in sauces.

Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
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post #9 of 19

Your best bet is a damp paper towel around the whole thing and place it in a platic quart container. That is how most restaurants will keep their herbs in the fridge.

post #10 of 19

Put them in a small glass of water, like you would a bouquet of flowers and keep them in the fridge. If you have a plastic bag from the produce market, you can loosely cover them, too.

 

Don't put basil in the fridge, though. It's too cold for such a tender plant. You can keep basil on the counter for quite a while in a glass of water. Often, the tender shoots will sprout roots and you can grow a whole new plant. 

post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foodie 13 View Post

There is nothing more that i love than cooking dishes with fresh herbs but im finding that i only get one use out of a small bag of them and by the time i want to use them again they have wilted :(

 

my dad had suggested that you can freeze herbs and we have tried that with no success. Can anyone tell me if there is a way for keeping fresh herbs for longer.

 

Thanks

As a previous organic farmer many herbs can be treated as 'fresh cut flowers'.(Sidebar I did flowers for wedding centerpieces and I used purple & tri-color sage..very cool)  Take a water glass/jelly jar with water, stems only in h2o plz...and cover it with an empty produce bag (like the ones in grocery store) and store in fridge-this is good for sage primarily.  Basil,oregano, and parsley I keep in h20 @ room temp and the basil will root in water (no bag and outta direct sunlight).. Rosemary & Thyme I keep in a produce bag in frig and they will keep for well over a week (be sure the herb is dry).  Never wash herbs until you go to use them!!! Basil will turn black and thyme will mold (due to compact bunches). Remove any rubber bands that are choking them also.  This should totally help you out, if not then post the herbs that you are using and I'll give you another response.  All the best, Scott the farmer.  Turned chef.

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by skipstrr View Post

As a previous organic farmer many herbs can be treated as 'fresh cut flowers'.(Sidebar I did flowers for wedding centerpieces and I used purple & tri-color sage..very cool)  Take a water glass/jelly jar with water, stems only in h2o plz...and cover it with an empty produce bag (like the ones in grocery store) and store in fridge-this is good for sage primarily.  Basil,oregano, and parsley I keep in h20 @ room temp and the basil will root in water (no bag and outta direct sunlight).. Rosemary & Thyme I keep in a produce bag in frig and they will keep for well over a week (be sure the herb is dry).  Never wash herbs until you go to use them!!! Basil will turn black and thyme will mold (due to compact bunches). Remove any rubber bands that are choking them also.  This should totally help you out, if not then post the herbs that you are using and I'll give you another response.  All the best, Scott the farmer.  Turned chef.

Oh yea, mint keep like the  basil and it'll root for you also, just make sure to recut the stems (like fresh flowers) before placing in water.

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandavila03 View Post

Your best bet is a damp paper towel around the whole thing and place it in a platic quart container. That is how most restaurants will keep their herbs in the fridge.

Your basil will turn black...

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBelgium View Post

I'm with foodpump; grow your own. I now have two large rectangle plant pots with wheels under them that I fill each year with frequently used young plants. These pots stay close to the house. Also, I have a lot of plants spread in the garden. Nothing beats freshly cut herbs.

 

In summer, I also regularly cut larger parts from rosemary bushes, sage, my own bay leaf tree that lives in a pot etc. and dry these for later use. Many of those dried herbs taste much stronger than fresh ones! Note; cutting down plants keep them young and virile.

So easy to do; cut some branches, wash thoroughly and dry... in a salad spinner. Put in an deep oven tray and cover loosely with a few sheets of newspaper. The paper easily absorbs moist but it also prevents drying herbs from going brown and it keeps dust and insects out! Put the tray in a warm sunny spot and in a week or so you have the dried herb. This is lemon verbena, should be in any foodies garden too for its heavenly fresh but strong lemon aroma. Another thing is that dried verbena makes a delightful tea it seems (couldn't confirm this; I hate tea, sorry).

Not all herbs can be dried; parsley doesn't work at all.

 

 

You NEVER dry herbs in direct sunlight!!! What are you thinking?  Small bunches hanging out of sunlight with good air circulation is best.  I bend paperclips and use rubber bands for easy hanging in my pantry. Even a few sprigs of rosemary in a lunch bag will suffice.  But NO sunlight as they will turn brown and ugly, esp. parsley!

post #15 of 19

Okay so you cover them with paper...my cat would find that and make it into her bed lol!  Or worse yet a new liter box...ewww.  I just love going into my pantry and seeing all my bunches of herbs drying...plus I get to check on them easily and crutch up a leaf for some personal aroma therapy ;).

post #16 of 19

rolleyes.gif ... sigh

post #17 of 19

thyme, oregano and sage are easy to grow too.  If you have yard, rosemary grows into a rather nice bush, but needs trimming from time to time. 

 

I also grow lovage and sorrel. 
 

post #18 of 19
The wealth of information that can be found on this site is astounding. My hats off to the members of this site.

Personally, I buy fresh when I can, process it, and put it into a zip lock, then into the freezer.
post #19 of 19

Then there are herb vinegars, which are not really like the fresh herb, but another way of using them. I'm about to make some rosemary vinegar.

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