I love my herb garden. It’s one of my favorite gardens. Not only are herbs attractive but there is nothing more rewarding than walking out to the garden and snipping a few fresh herbs to use when cooking dinner. I love using fresh herbs as long as possible but as the weather turns colder, I start looking for tips for storing fresh herbs so I can enjoy my harvest in the winter.
Tips for Storing Fresh Herbs
Different herbs are stored in different ways. Some are frozen, some dried and some stored in water. Storing your fresh herbs incorrectly means that they won’t taste as good when you use them.
- Basil, Parsley and Cilantro are best stored in fresh water. When you get them from the garden (or the store), just snip off the ends and stick them in a glass of cold water – much the same way you’d display your freshly cut flowers. They should last up to a week this way.
- Chives and Rosemary – Never rinse chives and rosemary until right before you use them. Bring them in from the garden and wrap them very loosely in a folded paper towel. Then wrap loosely in plastic wrap and store in an area of the refrigerator that doesn’t get too cold. I like to put mine in the butter compartment.
If you want to store your herbs for longer than about a week, you will need to preserve them. Properly preserved, your herbs should last for up to six months. This is perfect for me because that almost brings me to the next growing season.
- Freezing herbs – Harvest the herbs from your garden and place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer overnight to freeze them. Put them in a sealed container and use them as needed. This works wonderfully for chives, basil, mint, cilantro and parsley.
- Drying herbs – You can dry herbs in a dry area of your home, a dehydrator or in a slow oven or your microwave. Herbs that dry well are parsley, rosemary, mint, savory, oregano and thyme.
- Herb flavored vinegar – Some herbs can be snipped and preserved in white vinegar in a dark cabinet. I’ve done this chives before and it is delicious on salad. You can also use this method with lemon balm and rosemary. Learn how here.
- Store in oil – Flavored oils are delicious and fresh herbs can be added to oil to infuse flavor into it. This will not store as long as vinegar so it must be used quickly and stored in the refrigerator to prevent spoiling. You can try this method with basil and garlic.
- Freeze in oil – Another easy way to preserve herbs is to freeze it in oil. Just add the fresh herbs to your ice cube tray and cover them with olive oil. Freeze overnight. Pop the cubes out and store them in a plastic freezer bag or container. This method works best with rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano.
Now that you know how to store and preserve fresh herbs, which one will you try first?