The Best Way to Store Fresh Herbs
I put four different methods to the test to see which method is the best for storing fresh herbs at home.
The Best Way to Store Fresh HerbsJump to Recipe
My wife will be the first to tell you that I have an herb problem. This problem gets worse in the winter when my herb garden isn’t happening, but basically the problem is as follows:
I go to the store. There are herbs a plenty. I forget if I have some in the fridge or not. So I just buy more.
The result is that I have, at times, half a dozen various chunks of parsley and cilantro in our fridge. One time Betsy pulled out no less than four different bunches of parsley from our fridge drawer.
Like I said: HERB PROBLEM.
The source of this problem is that I’ve never really figured out the best way to STORE herbs and so I’m in a constant state of worry that the herbs I have in the fridge are rotten and therefore I just need to buy more.
So, I decided to use some space in my new (and large) fridge to conduct a true herb storage test.
I tested FOUR different methods of storing herbs to see which worked best. The results were pretty cool and will hopefully help you store your herbs better and be less wasteful!
The Worst Way: Counter-top
The first way I tried to store my parsley is was to take it out of it’s bunch, cut off the ends of the stems, and place it in a cup with water on the countertop.
I liked this idea because it keeps space free in the fridge and fresh herbs look great on the counter!
Unfortunately, herbs wilt very quickly in this environment which is why refrigerators exist!
I do like storing herbs on the countertop if you plan to use them quickly. For a holiday like Thanksgiving, for example, having some herbs on the counter is a nice touch. For everyday storage though, it’s not the best.
Countertop Life Span: 7-10 days
The Lazy Way: In the Bag
If you purchase your herbs at a grocery store, they sometimes come in a plastic bag. The laziest and easiest way to store the herbs is actually to just toss them in the fridge in this bag.
Then when you need some herbs, you open the bag, rip off a few leaves, wash them, and you’re good to go.
One problem: The herbs actually rot fairly quickly in the bag. They get no air flow and once they start decomposing, it goes very quickly.
That said, they will last longer than the countertop method just because they are refrigerated.
In the Bag Life Span: ~ 2 weeks
The Paper Towel Method
I like this method of storage. When you get your herbs home, trim off any ends and wrap them in damp paper towels. Store them wrapped like this in the fridge. If you replace the paper towel every week or so, they actually have a decent shelf life like this.
The problem with this method is that if you have a jam-packed fridge, it can be hard to find the space to keep them in tip-top shape. For example, if you have your herbs wrapped and then you set a carrot on top of them, they are going to get smashed. Of course, this is true with the plastic bag storage as well.
All-in-all, this is probably my second favorite way to store herbs and I was surprised at the shelf-life of the herbs stored this way.
Paper Towel Storage Life Span: 3-4 weeks
The Ultimate Storage: Pint Glass
These leads us to the clear winner for herb storage. The best way to store fresh herbs is to trim off any old stems when you bring them home and then put them in a jar or pint glass with water. Store them upright in the fridge!
I had an intuition that this would be the best method but was shocked at HOW well it performed. For starters, obviously the water helps paired with the refrigerated space. But, a factor that I didn’t think about was that storing herbs like this keeps them from getting mashed and smashed! This really improves lifespan.
Of course, there is a downside to storing herbs like this: SPACE. If you have a small or super-packed fridge, it can be hard to make space for a jar or pint glass filled with water and herbs in your fridge.
Pint Glass Life Span: 6+ Weeks
See that parsley in that pint glass? I stuck it in my fridge on March 18th, over five weeks ago. I just add a little extra water to the glass every week and they have been great.
The other benefit of the pint glass is that you can add more herbs to it and make a bouquet of herbs in one pint glass. No need for a bunch of different glasses for different herbs!
So, I’ll be keeping a pint glass in my fridge from now on to hopefully solve my herb-storage issue!
How do you store herbs? Let me know in the comments if I’m the only one with an herb storage problem!
9 Responses to “The Best Way to Store Fresh Herbs” Leave a comment
Dehydration works for me.
That’s a great idea Ray. I’ve never thought to dehydrate them. Especially if you have extras.
Have you any thoughts on storing different types herbs in the same glass vessel?
I was taught to cut off bottoms of stems.
Clean and rinse.
Drain or shake off dripping water.
Lay out a clean dry dish towel (Ikea $.79 is great if you didn’t inherit a stash of proper Linen Tea Towels).
Loosely spread out herbs length of towel.
Roll up and put towel wrapped herbs back in plastic bag.
Ready to use for 10-15 days.
As towel dries out, give a light water moistening.
I try to keep bag or towel colors standard so I know what is in each. Such as green = cilantro, red = parsley, etc
That sounds like a great method Jem. I love the color-coded storage idea! Thanks!
You are my spirit animal Nick. This happens to me ALL THE TIME.
Always flat leaf parsley, always cilantro. Always x 3!!
I’ve been storing herbs in a glass, as you describe here, with water, but I also take a ziploc and slide it over, zipping it tightly around the glass, near the bottom.