Herbs add flavour to almost any dish and have the ability to take a meal to the next level. Add a sprig of rosemary to your roast veggies or a handful of fresh basil to your pasta sauce and you’ll immediately notice the difference.
But do you buy fresh herbs with the best intentions to use them, only to let them spoil in the back of your fridge? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Herbs can be broken up into two classes: woody herbs (like rosemary and thyme) and soft herbs (like basil, mint, and coriander). Woody herbs are tougher and are usually too intense in flavour to be eaten raw. Soft herbs, on the other hand, are not quite as hardy but can be eaten raw.
Here are the best ways to store your woody and soft herbs, so you can get the most out of them and stop letting them go to waste:
Woody herbs include rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaves, oregano.
The best way to store these kinds of herbs is by wrapping them loosely in plastic wrap and putting them in the warmest part of the fridge, like the door.
Wrapping woody herbs too tightly will trap moisture in and cause them to go mouldy prematurely. You can also add a crumpled paper towel to the bag or wrap to soak up excess moisture.
Do not wash woody herbs before storing them, just rinse before using.
Soft herbs include coriander, basil, parsley, mint, dill, chives, sorrel, tarragon, chervil.
Most soft herbs can be treated like a bouquet of flowers – trim the ends, put in a glass with about an inch of water, and leave out on the kitchen bench at room temperature. This works particularly well for basil, which may go black and wilted if refrigerated. You can use this method for most long-stemmed herbs, like parsley and coriander.
Other soft herbs like chives and tarragon can be stored in the fridge similarly to woody herbs.
The best way to store soft herbs for longer is in the freezer. Pick the leaves off, rinse and chop finely. Then dry thoroughly before putting into a freezer bag. Make sure you press out as much air as possible before sealing, then label the bag/s and place on top of one another in the freezer. This method will make them last a few months and they can be used straight from frozen when needed.
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