A sprinkle of fresh herbs can make any meal feel fancy and special. But it’s a big challenge to use up that remaining bunch of cilantro or parsley before it turns brown and slimy. Storing them the right way helps a lot, below are step-by-step directions on how to store your fresh herbs (like cilantro, parsley, rosemary, and basil) so they last longer.
How to Store Fresh Basil
Basil is the easiest herb to store. Instead of tossing it in the fridge, you want to treat basil like it’s a bouquet of flowers.
Start by filling a glass with cool water. Then add the unwashed basil.
Place the jar on your kitchen counter and refresh the water frequently, about every other day.
When you need basil, just grab a few leaves. Give them a gentle rinse, pat dry, and proceed with your recipe.
Yummy Basil Recipes
How to Store Fresh Cilantro, Parsley, Dill, and Mint
Step 1 – Trim The Ends
When you get home from the store instead of tossing your bag of parsley into the crisper, grab a cutting board and knife.
Lay the bunch of parsley on the cutting board and chop off 1/2 inch to 1-inch of the stems.
Step 2 – Rinse and Spin
Add the parsley to a salad spinner and fill it with cold water. *If you don’t have a spinner you can rinse the herbs in a colander and move on to the next step.
Use your hand to gently swish the herbs around in the water to help any dirt fall to the bottom. Lift the basket out of the spinner and drain the dirty water.
Repeat the rinsing again if necessary. (Our cilantro is always super dirty!) Next, put the lid on the spinner and give it a light spin. Then dump out any water.
Step 3 – Dry Your Herbs Well
Lay the herbs on a clean towel in an even layer to dry. I usually give them about 10 to 15 minutes and then use another clean towel to blot any excess water from the herbs.
Step 4 – Arrange Your Herb Bouquet
Fill a mason jar partially with cool water. Gather the herbs into a bouquet and place them in the jar.
You want to make sure the stem bottoms are submerged in the water.
Cover the herbs with a plastic sandwich bag and secure a rubber band at the top of the jar. The idea is to keep as much air out of the bag as possible.
If you don’t have a bag (or don’t want to use one) you can skip this step. I’ve found the herbs tend to get wilted a little from the fridge air but it’s not too bad.
Step 5 – Store In The Fridge
Place the herbs in your fridge. We usually store ours on the top or middle shelf if the herbs are tall like this flat-leaf parsley. But you can put them anywhere in the fridge you want.
A lot of people prefer to put them in the side door by the condiments where they are more out of the way and harder to knock over.
We’ve tried this method with fresh parsley, cilantro, dill, and mint. All of the herbs lasted for weeks with the parsley hanging in there the longest (over 1 month!).
For the best results:
- Change the water every 2 to 3 days.
- Remove yellow or brown leaves as they appear.
- Wipe out any condensation inside the bag.
Recipes For Tender Herbs
How to Store Fresh Rosemary and Thyme
You’ve got a few options when it comes to storing hard herbs i.e. those with woody stems like rosemary and thyme. You can keep them in the fridge or even freeze them.
For either method, start by rinsing the herbs with water. Then lay them on a clean towel and pat dry or allow to air dry.
To Store Rosemary In The Fridge
- Wet one or two paper towels and squeeze them out.
- Arrange rosemary in an even layer on the towels.
- Starting at one end, loosely roll up the towel.
- Place in a marked plastic bag and refrigerate.
The rosemary (or other hard herbs) will last for about two to three weeks when stored this way.
Because most rosemary bunches we buy are huge, I like to keep a little in the fridge and freeze the rest.
How to Freeze Rosemary
After rinsing and drying the rosemary you can freeze the leaves right on the stems. Or strip the leaves off and freeze them separately.
Another great option for storing herbs is freezing them with oil or broth in ice cube trays. Then you can easily add the oil and herb cubes to pasta and soups.
Our Best Rosemary and Thyme Recipes