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Keeping Herbs Fresh...

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stereo.pete

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Pro's and expert home cooks,

I have been struggling with keeping herbs (parsley and cilantro) fresh and crisp in the house. I've tried for years to keep them in the fridge to no avail. Parsley lasts a decent amount of time but cilantro goes limp and loses its' aromatic qualities very quickly (couple of days). I recently tried a glass filled with water and placing the cilantro in that on the counter but it quickly wilted again and I was left with water that smelled of ass. I also tried a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel but once again that failed.

What I am getting at is what do you do if anything to keep your herbs fresh so I don't have to go out and buy fresh parsley and cilantro every couple of days?

Regards,

Pete
 

Chifunda

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I don't have the answer but I do share your problem.

The best solution I've come up with is to cut the bottoms of the stems off with a sharp knife, put the bunch in a glass of water as you have done and then refrigerate. It helps, but I still wind up throwing nearly half away.

Fortunately, spring is here and next week I'm planting chili peppers and our usual herbs, so I'll be covered for a while.
 

Aphex

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I get around this by growing herbs in pots and and cutting some when i need them.
 

tgraypots

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The best solution I've come up with is to cut the bottoms of the stems off with a sharp knife, put the bunch in a glass of water as you have done and then refrigerate. It helps, but I still wind up throwing nearly half away.
This works well for me, up to around a week or so. Last summer I put away around 20+ quarts of basil pesto and the same amount of roasted romas and amish paste tomatoes. This year, no garden :-(
 

El Pescador

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DON'T REFRIGERATE THEM! Stick them in a glass or vase like flowers . They'll last a lot longer that way.
 

stereo.pete

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DON'T REFRIGERATE THEM! Stick them in a glass or vase like flowers . They'll last a lot longer that way.
I tried this and Parsley worked out ok but Cilantro wilted after two days.
 

ajhuff

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I have had decent luck with cilantro buy soaking in the sink for an hour or so. This also helps letting dirt settle to the bottom. Then I drain and spin in a salad spinner. I roll the spun cilantro up in dry paper towel and then put in a zip lock bag with as much air squeezed out as I can.

-AJ
 

Eamon Burke

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This is why dried herbs exist! Recently, correctly dried parsley in a soup is just as good as fresh.
 

Dusty

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Before picking, whilst still in the bunch Wrap the whole bunch In a slightly damp cloth and wrap the whole bunch in cling wrap. After the bunch is picked, store in an airtight container with damp paper towel lining the bottom of the container and another one on top of the herbs. Store in the fridge. After Xmas break this year at the restaurant - about two weeks - I found some picked flat leaf parsley stored like this and was totally amazed that it was completely fine.

Cilantro especially will store better picked than whole. The stems suck the water out of the leaves, which causes the wilting.
 

mr drinky

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Not exactly an answer to your question, but what I do is: chop it up, leave it out for an hour or so to let it dry (if you have just washed it), then spread it on something flat and freeze it then store it. It is then chopped and ready for use when I want it, and I don't have to worry about it going bad.

I also used to buy the Dorot frozen cilantro for emergencies.

With that said, I have this Progressive herb container and it works well, but I haven't tried it with cilantro. Sage will stay good for 4+weeks in this container.

k.

Edit: btw, the cilantro stems are very flavorful.
 
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steeley

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Buy it use it, if you do put in water put the plastic bag it came over the top .
and NO dried herbs only whole spices to toast and grind .
you buy a $1000 knife don't skimp on the good stuff .
 

jgraeff

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The best way is to rinse them in ice water then dry them and refrigerate wrapped in a damp paper towel.

Otherwise keep them in water and cut as needed. Change water often.
 

stereo.pete

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The best way is to rinse them in ice water then dry them and refrigerate wrapped in a damp paper towel.

Otherwise keep them in water and cut as needed. Change water often.
This may have been the problem as I was not changing the water often. Also, I was keeping the parsley in a plastic drinking glass and now after washing it about 5 times I can still smell the vile stank of plant water.

Thanks to everyone's suggestions, I will try them all out to see what works best for myself.
 

PhaetonFalling

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The thing I find that tends to work well is to put wrap the cilantro in a DRY paper towel and put that into a ziplock bag, and then put the ziplock bag into a part of the refrigerator that is not too cold, such as one of the drawers. That seems to make it last a few more days.

Of course, the easiest thing to do is to buy small quantities only when you need it, but I understand that's not always easy or convenient to do.
 

MadMel

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If your cilantro has the roots on, best to stick them in a pot of earth. They grow, you snip or pick as much as you want and save $$..
 

PhaetonFalling

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If your cilantro has the roots on, best to stick them in a pot of earth. They grow, you snip or pick as much as you want and save $$..
I've found that the problem with growing your own cilantro is getting the required micro nutrients to it to make it taste right.

Also, once it flowers, it tastes like garbage.

So if you want to grow the stuff, you have to keep it in perpetual veg, which probably means at least an 18/6 schedule.
 

MadMel

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I've found that the problem with growing your own cilantro is getting the required micro nutrients to it to make it taste right.

Also, once it flowers, it tastes like garbage.

So if you want to grow the stuff, you have to keep it in perpetual veg, which probably means at least an 18/6 schedule.
I haven't had a problem with the soil making it taste different.. As for the flowering, mine hasn't had a chance to do it so I can't comment...
 

PhaetonFalling

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I haven't had a problem with the soil making it taste different.. As for the flowering, mine hasn't had a chance to do it so I can't comment...
I guess maybe the reason I had problems with mine was that it was originally grown in a peat-pod, in what was probably a hydroponics system. I took issues with that company's mint and basil too... which basically tasted like chlorophyll...that is to say, no flavor what so ever.

If you get it originally grown in dirt, and you re-pot with some good soil, maybe that wouldn't be such a problem.
 

DeepCSweede

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While we are on the Herb theme, I had a nice surprise when I took the dogs out this morning, I found my chive bed has already grown itself up this spring and was able to cut a good section of it. Luckily I have some cottage cheese in the fridge, so lunch is upgraded today!!
 
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