A quick and easy way to save your refrigerated herbs – they’ll keep for a week!
We depend on the excellent flavor of our herbs to enhance our cooking. I have many friends who wait until the day before they need them to purchase fresh leafy herbs like cilantro and parsley. The reason is sensible – you want them as fresh as possible.
The problem with leafy herbs is that they tend to dry out in the refrigerator. After about three days – not so good. But even if you’re a flavor nut – as I am – going out shopping every time you need a bit of parsley is not at all practical. We’re all so busy these days – right? I mean, if you have the time, great! But if you don’t, what are your options?
A friend once remarked that you should take care of your leafy herbs as you would a bunch of flowers. That makes sense. Bon Appetit goes a bit further with a few very sensible tips about the care and preparation for your herbs.
The first big tip: rinse your herbs as soon as you get them home from the market. Resist the temptation of tossing them into the crisper and then forgetting about them until you need them for dinner! To be honest, you should never do that with any of your greens. It’s always best to wash your veggies before they go into the fridge. That way, everything is ready to eat! Washing also helps rehydrate veggies so that they stay fresher longer.
Next, trim the stem ends of your herbs with a sharp knife. Like with flowers, freshly cut stem helps the bunch absorb water better. Think also about the fact that while your herbs are still green, they’re still living. Trimming helps them stay moist, crisp, alive and green longer. Be sure to pick out any that are brown, very wilted, or look like they’re already too far gone.
Place your trimmed leafy herbs in a salad spinner; rinse, drain the dirty water and repeat enough times until the water is clear. Then spin them dry to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Or you can do it the old-fashioned way – in a bowl with a colander. But I find that the salad spinner is the far gentler method, especially with delicate herbs. You end up with fewer broken stems and bruising.
Gently gather the herbs back into a bunch then wrap the stem ends a damp paper towel. Take the whole thing and ease it into a plastic bag large enough so that the bunch isn’t crammed in there. I recommend Ziploc bags because they’re handy for this kind of work. Seal it and you’re done!
When using this method, you’ll find that you can refrigerate your herbs and keep them green and fresh for up to a week. All you have to do is pull off leaves whenever you need them!