Don’t Waste those Flavorful Fresh Herbs!
Learn how to keep both hardy and tender herbs on hand with these tips from StopWaste as they offer the third installment of our newsletter series about delicious ways to use foods and store them right to keep them fresh longer. You’ll also find food storage tips and a recipe from StopWaste in our Fall issue.
Many chefs—professional and amateur alike—consider fresh herbs to be a secret to their success. No matter if you use them in traditional ways or experiment with new pairings, fresh herbs can infuse dishes with flavor and fragrance in a way their dried counterparts cannot.
But how do you keep fresh herbs handy in the kitchen? You could grow your own herb garden to always have fresh ones on hand. But if you are buying fresh bundles every time you cook for just those few twigs you’ll use, some simple storage tricks can extend the life of those fresh herbs for up to two weeks.
For tender herbs like mint, dill, parsley, and cilantro, remove any wilted leaves, trim the stem ends, and place the bunch into a jar or glass with 1–2 inches of water. (Be sure to change the water when it starts to get cloudy.) Loosely cover the herbs with a plastic bag and place them in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Woody or hardy herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage, and chives should be arranged lengthwise on a damp paper towel, rolled up, and then sealed in a plastic bag for storage in the refrigerator.
A great way to store hardy herbs long-term is to make herb cubes by freezing them in oil or butter.
Frozen Herb Cube
Ingredients: leftover herbs, olive oil/butter
You’ll need: knife, cutting board, ice cube tray, plastic wrap, freezer storage bags.
Wash and dry your leftover herbs, then chop (rough or fine, depending on your preference). Fill individual ice-cube tray cells up to ⅔ full with the chopped herbs—feel free to mix them—then pour olive oil or melted butter to just cover the herbs in the ice cube tray. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. Once they are frozen, remove the cubes from the tray and store in labeled bags in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Use these herb cubes to start off any dish that calls for oil and herbs.
For more tips and easy-to-follow recipes that reduce food waste and make the most of food you already have, visit StopFoodWaste.org, a project by Alameda County public agency StopWaste.
Sponsored content. Photos courtesy of StopWaste.