Best Ways to Store Fresh Herbs
Many chefs agree that foods taste best when fresh herbs are used in the recipe. Compared to the herbs and spices that you find in bottles and jars, fresh almost always seems to add something special to the taste of a meal.
It is true, however, that keeping fresh herbs around is a lot more challenging than simply buying a bottle of dried herbs. After all, with the dried herbs you don't have to worry much about them going bad or about chopping and dicing them for recipes. There are some cases, though, where fresh really is best, and you may find that keeping some fresh herbs on hand isn't as difficult as you may have thought. It is even possible to get most herbs to last over a week if stored correctly.
To store fresh herbs, try these ideas to help extend life and flavor:
- Make an Herb Bouquet. Just like flowers, you can help fresh herbs last longer by keeping them in water. Stick the herbs in a vase with some water and leave them on your counter for a few days. As a bonus, they will look nice and smell great, too!
- Store in the Refrigerator. The cool environment of the refrigerator can help keep some herbs fresher. For the best results, carefully rinse the herbs with water and place them in a loose paper towel. You can also place the wrapped herbs in a plastic baggie. Be careful, though: some herbs don't do as well in the refrigerator as others.
- Drying. You can dry your herbs to use later if you aren't able to use them right away. The easiest way to do this is to hang your herbs and let them dry over the course of a few days. Once they are dry, you can store them away to use another day.
- Freezing. If you end up with more fresh herbs than you know you'll be able to use before they go bad, freezing can be a great way to store them for months. Freezing often keeps most of the flavor of the herb, although some will be lost over time. To freeze, take the leaves off of the herb's stem and place them in a baggie (like a Zip Lock freezer bag) in one layer. Put them in your freezer, and you can use them like fresh herbs for months.
- Grow Your Own. If you like plants and gardening, one way to have fresh herbs around is to grow them yourself. Keep some herb plants in your kitchen or garden and you'll have the freshest possible herbs at hand for your recipes.
With these ideas, you will be able to keep fresh herbs around your house for delicious recipes.
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