Keeping Herbs Fresh

I’m really excited about the herbs we’re growing at the farm this summer, but it seems like every time I get cilantro, parsley, or basil, half of it ends up going to waste.  Right about when I find it rotting down at the bottom of the vegetable drawer is when I need it fresh for a recipe.  In pursuit of a solution to this problem, I looked into some methods for preserving fresh (not dried) cilantro, parsley, and basil for weeks or even a few months.

To keep these herbs fresh for a few weeks, snip off the stem ends and place in water like a bouquet of flowers.  Cover the leaves loosely with a plastic or paper bag.  Place cilantro in the fridge, basil at room temperature, and parsley in either environment.  Change the water if it becomes cloudy or colored.

Storing cilantro in water

To freeze cilantro and basil, the Subsistence Pattern Food Garden recommends mixing the leaves with a little olive oil (enough to coat), packing them into plastic bags, and freezing.

Freezing cilantro mixed with olive oil

You could also blend the olive oil-herb mixture in a food processor, scoop tablespoon-fuls onto wax paper-lined cookie sheets, and place in the freezer—after they are frozen, pop into a plastic bag or canning jar and freeze.

Other websites recommended freezing the herbs with water in ice cube trays: strip leaves from the stems and pack tightly into the wells of an ice cube tray.  Fill each well with water to cover the leaves and then freeze.  When frozen, store the cubes in a plastic bag or jar.

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