Fresh or Dry?
Many aromatics are best when they’re served fresh. These include basil, cilantro, chives, dill, mint, parsley, and Thai basil. To have them on hand and in peak condition at all times, consider setting up a small kitchen garden or planter and growing your own.
Oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme hold on to their flavor after they’re dried, so if your herbs start to wilt before you can use them, consider drying the rest and storing them in glass jars. Since drying herbs concentrates their flavor, it is wise to use only about 1/3 as much when cooking. Dried herbs lose their flavor faster than most spices, so keep an eye on them.
Since most people only use a little bit of aromatic herbs at one time, it’s a good idea to make them last as long as you can.
We’ve had good luck storing our aromatic herbs in the refrigerator.
Sometimes we slice a bit of length off the stems and put the herbs (stem-side down) in a glass of water in the fridge to further prolong their lifespan. Generally, herbs will keep for about a week when stored this way.
You can also store the herbs in a hard-sided container lined with a paper towel as well. The hard sides keep the herbs from getting beaten up during the fridge shuffles that generally occur during the week, and the paper towel absorbs excess moisture, which can keep the herbs from rotting.
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Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.