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Fresh Herbs


Marlene
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I've had the best luck with wrapping my herbs in a paper towel, then putting them into a zip lock bag, and then into the crisper in my fridge.

Ditto. My parsley and cilantro last a couple weeks this way.

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Putting basil in the fridge will kill it. Make sure the stems are cleanly trimmed; put it in a glass of water and leave it on the counter. It'll last a couple of days.

Trim other herb stems, if needed, stick them or wrap them as described above, and store them in the fridge.

Laurie

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I've found that by taking wilted herbs (herbs that are getting close to dying out on you) and dunking them in luke warm water and then shake the excess water off, wrapping them with a damp paper towel and back into the fridge help for a few extra days and some how revives them back to a crisper leaf.

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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If you'd eat the herb in a salad (like sorrel or basil) don't dry it. If you primarily use it cooked (like sage and thyme) drying is great. I bought several bunches of fresh herbs for $1 each in early spring, dried them and now have wonderful dried herbs to cook with. Much cheaper than buying predried herbs, and much better tasting too. I wouldn't bother with freezing or any other fancy preservation methods, since the salad herbs that they're good for are so much better fresh.

Keeping a cutting in water until it grows roots is a common way of getting new plants. Many plants will do this if the conditions are right. Consult a gardening book if you want to figure out how to get the cutting to grow happily in soil. Generally, soil is better than trying to do hydroponic gardening.

Emily

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I have found if you trim the bottom of the herbs stored in water, especially when you first get them, just before you put them standing up in shallow water. Then every couple of days, take just a little of the healed part off. I have been told that warm water is better, but have never done a side by side comparison.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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An update on the bouquet of basil on my window sill.  Last evening when I was adding more sprigs to it, I noticed that two of the older stems have rooted.  Now I'm wondering if it would be possible to grow them hydroponically through the winter.  I know the commercial growers do this, but might there be a simple way to do this in you kitchen?

pat w

I have actually made two new plants by doing this with basil.. just wait a while till they sprout some more shoots and plant =) I now have basil coming out of my ears .. my brother drops buy to steal some instead of buying some when he needs it =)

Edited by Girl-from-mars (log)
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I think it varies largely from herb to herb. As others have mentioned, basil does not store at all very well, the best method I have found is simply to put them in a vase like you would flowers and change the water every so often (do not refrigerate). For cilantro, I always get cilantro with the roots attached and place them in a jar of water and then cover the bunch with a clear plastic bag. Everytime I take the jar out to use I pick away the yellowing leaves and try to space out any stalks that are too close together. Remember that it is moisture by and large that will cause your herbs to spoil, so it best to try and keep them as dry as possible. Parselys and mints store very well, and I usually do little with them beyond a plastic bag and perhaps a paper towel in the bag.

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Asian basil seems to last a lot longer in the refrigerator compared with regular basil (Ocimum basilicum). Basil leaves last best on a growing plant, so we always plant a few in the spring after the danger of frost and cold has passed.

Alchemist gives good advice about re-cutting the stems regularly. After a few days, plants will form a callus where the stems are cut. The callus prevents the stems from taking up water, but cutting off the stem tips solves this problem and keeps the cuttings fresh longer.

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I try to buy my basil growing in a pot, but experience has taught me it needs to be a larger (10-11cm) pot rather than those little ones that are only around 7cm wide. They grow quite happily on the bench for several weeks and I just pinch out leaves from the top to encourage the plants to bush out.

Coriander (cilantro) has given me the most grief but the method that has worked best for me is to seal it in a plastic bag and keep it in the fridge. I have one of those gizmos that heat-seals the top of plastic bags but I have also used a rubber band to twist off and secure the bag. The secret is to have no holes in the bag.

Normally I have my own herb garden but we are on overseas posting and currently renting so I buy most of my herbs fresh at the local market. But a herb garden doesn't take up much space and it's not labour intensive. I miss mine :-(

I think it would be better if we coud buy a large bunch of mixed herbs rather than have to throw out half the fresh herbs because we never get to use the lot.

Website: http://cookingdownunder.com

Blog: http://cookingdownunder.com/blog

Twitter: @patinoz

The floggings will continue until morale improves

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  • 4 weeks later...

A few days ago NPR had a segment on preserving basil using the pesto method, but stopping short of adding the cheese & pine nuts. Celebrating Late Summer's Basil Bonanza

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5726130

I tried making a batch last night. Packed the food processor full of basil leaves & ended up with just one ice cube tray of green glop. A lovely aroma filled the house. I suspect that this will be pretty potent stuff, but will be fun to try in November.

pat w

Well nuts! I tried to make that url a link, but it didn't work. Foiled again. Damn this new fangled computer stuff.

Edited by Pat W (log)

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash

http://bluestembooks.com/

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Here is your link (fixed).

pesto

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Here is your link (fixed).

pesto

Thank you.

I apologize for this being off topic, but when I read the posting entry in the help files I couldn't find anything about adding links or photos. I have a sinking feeling that I'm missing something that is in plain sight. Is there somewhere else I should be looking? :unsure:

pat w.

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance

Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance.

-- Ogden Nash

http://bluestembooks.com/

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Hi all,

I hae a great solution for long term storage.

For the past three years I have frozen large quantities of fresh herbs in ziplock freezer bags. No washing. Just pack the herbs in the bag, seal and freeze. They stay remarkably fresh-like for many, many months.

You must use a self-defrosting refrigerator or you get an accumulation of frost in the bags that spoils the herbs.

This does not work for basil! Basukm I dry at 150 degrees and shread into a glass jar. Not like fresh, but much better than store bought.

Tim

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Thank you. 

I apologize for this being off topic, but when I read the posting entry in the help files I couldn't find anything about adding links or photos. I have a sinking feeling that I'm missing something that is in plain sight.  Is there somewhere else I should be looking?  :unsure:

pat w.

At the top of the reply window, click the button labelled "http://" to add a link and "IMG" to add a image.

PS: I am a guy.

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  • 8 months later...

bump!

i'm confused because i keep reading contradictory messages about how to store fresh basil. i read through this thread, and many of you have said to store it like you would fresh flowers (stems submerged in water and not in the fridge). but when i googled it, some of the other pages i read said that though this method works well for other herbs, it doesn't for basil. they recommended storing basil in the fridge, wrapped in a paper towel and in a ziplock.

so--what gives? i rather like the idea of having fresh basil on my kitchen windowsill, but i'm confused as to all the discrepancies.

"i dream of cherry pies, candy bars and chocolate chip cookies." -talking heads

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Basil is a tropical plant and does not fair well in temperatures below 55F; I would follow the instructions here and store it as you would fresh flowers. Whenever I have put regular sweet basil in the fridge it has wilted quite rapidly. Thai basil seems to do fine in the fridge though.

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