You’ve planted them. You grew them. You’ve harvested them.. now how do you store your home-grown herbs?
Know the Herbs and Intended Usage
If you’re planning on using your long-stemmed herbs, sush as parsley, basil or cilantro, fresh you can merely snip the ends and store in water, much like you’d handle fresh flowers. Herbs, like the ones you find in the produce section at the grocery store can be stored wrapped in a damp paper towel and refrigerated.
Rinse Those Herbs
You know how you treated the herbs when you were growing them. You abstained from chemicals and grew something pure for your cooking, but you still need to rinse them before using (or drying). Rain can cause dirt to splash onto the leaves and of course, insects have crawled on them. Just rinse under running water or use a salad spinner .
Parsley, Cilantro, tarragon and rosemary should last up to three weeks in your refrigerator. Dill, mints, basil, thyme, sage and savory typically keep for two weeks under ideal conditions. Chives and chervil should keep about a week.
Each of us will have different atmospheres in their homes. Some houses are warmer than others in the summer. Some are more humid. You know your own house better than anyone else and your own herbs may or may not last as long as the average person due to the temperature and humidity level of your house.
Harvested herbs kept where there is sunlight can hasten the life of the plant. Too much moisture can cause rapid deterioration. Not enough moisture can cause rapid drying out as can excessive heat.
Most of use will find that storing them in a jar with an inch or so of water, or wrapped in a damp paper towel AND placed in the refrigerator is probably the best method to prolong usability. Some refrigerators have cold spots where certain items will freeze. If your refrigerator has a cheese or meat drawer use it for your herbs.
For using as ‘fresh herbs’ store with moisture, away from light, and with minimal air exposure such as the crisper/cheese drawer of your refrigerator. This will prolong the usable life of the fresh herbs.
If you’ve harvested more than you can possibly use within a week or two consider drying the herbs.