Ask a chef: How to keep herbs freshMarch 9, 2016
To refrigerate or leave on the shelf? Water or no water? If you’re confused about how to keep herbs fresh, our head chef Tom is here to save the day.
It seems that no matter how fresh my herbs look when I buy them, they end up sad and wilted within a few days. What am I doing wrong?
Fresh herbs are absolutely amazing at lifting a dish. From a sprig of coriander atop a stir fry to basil on a pizza, herbs elevate the flavour of a meal to heavenly heights. Unfortunately, they are delicate little beasties. Here’s what I do to keep my herbs fresh.
First of all, if you receive HelloFresh, keep your herbs in the bag! We use Peakfresh bags which work by removing harmful gases to keep your herbs fresher for longer, so it’s a good move to keep them sealed in there for as long as you can.
I like to divide herbs into three groups when thinking about storage: green herbs (think mint, dill or coriander), woody herbs (like thyme and rosemary) and basil. Yep, maybe it’s because he’s Italian, but basil gets it’s own category because he’s a special guy!
Store basil in a few inches of water in a jar or a glass. Cover with a plastic sandwich bag and store out of direct sunlight. This method should keep basil fresh for two weeks, and prevents the leaves from blackening (which can sometimes happen in a too-cold fridge).
For other green herbs, I like to use a cheffy trick to keep them fresh. Lay out the herbs, making sure they’re dry. Then take a damp clean chux cloth (chefs use paper towel too but I think that’s a bit too delicate for opening and resealing). Place the herbs inside and roll up the herbs within the wet cloth, making sure they’re completely covered. Place in a zip lock bag and refrigerate. Wet the cloth when it dries out and keep away from the very coldest part of the fridge – the back – and this method should keep your herbs looking A-OK for two weeks.
Woody herbs are a bit more hardy, and you can just leave them in a cool, dry place and allow to dry out. To keep them fresh, lay them out on a dry chux cloth (we don’t want to introduce too much moisture), roll up in the cloth and store in a plastic sandwich bag in the fridge. This method should get you 2 -3 weeks of beautiful fresh rosemary or similar.
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