How to Store Your Fresh Cut Herbs
Remember to prune and harvest your herbs on a regular basis. Doing so helps your herb plants to grow and helps you have a season long supply of fresh herbs. If you’ve an abundant harvest, more than you can use in a few days, you’ll want to think about different methods of storing those herbs.
You can store fresh herbs just like you would fresh cut flowers, right on the countertop or windowsill in a vase or jar of water. You merely need to snip the ends (just like flowers) and place in an inch or so of water in a preferably glass container. Using glass allows you to see not only the amount of water but the condition thereof. You can then use the tops of these herbs for days. This method works good for basil, cilantro as well as parsley.
It’s been a time honored tradition in my family to merely place the fresh herbs on a damp paper towel and roll it up. You can then keep these in the crisper or a baggie in the fridge. This method works well for many herbs, especially rosemary and thyme. Some herbs won’t tolerate the ‘chill factor’ and will do better with other methods.
There ‘hopefully’ will come a time when you have too many harvested herbs to possibly use them all in a decent time period. So what do you do? You freeze them.
One way, is to chop and freeze in water in an ice cube tray! OR…. in olive oil in an ice cube tray. Once they have frozen solid you can remove from the tray and place into ziplock baggies for later use. Mark them well because you will forget which bag is which!
Your own home-grown herbs dried and stored are almost always far superior to any store-bought herbs. You can dry your herbs yourself. Ever see an image of an old time kitchen with herbs hanging from the rafters? You can do it that way. I’ve dried big bunches hanging from the rafters in the attached garage (try to explain that to the well-pump guy when he comes to service the tank…) and I’ve hung them in paper sacks on the porch. Using tied up paper sacks allows the summer heat to dry the herbs, the sacks absorb moisture and keep the insects off. This does look funny on your front porch though…. lol.
You can dry herbs on a tray in your oven on warm if you have an electric oven and for those with a gas oven with a pilot light, the heat from the pilot is often enough to do the job. For larger jobs, and for veggies, I did out the big ole Excalibur dehydrator. An added bonus is the house will smell divine!!!! ( If you’re going to dry or dehydrate onion or garlic, be smart. Do that outside!)
Those herbs in your garden or herb bed are pretty to look at and they do attract beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies, but they are also tasty. Don’t let your love of the bees and butterflies outweigh your desire for fresh herbs. Prune and harvest all season long, the plant will continue to grow and produce more delight for your kitchen.
If you’re really concerned about the bees and butterflies consider planting a little extra just for them. I often plant some dill in the back of the bed just for the black swallowtails.
Use your herbs. Try them in different dishes. Reach for the fresh whenever you can. You’ll fix up some tasty meals with fresh herbs and you’ll enjoy every minute of the process.