Mise
Is it Possible to Over-sift Flour?

Storing Fresh Herbs

Frequently on weekends, I'll go to the local farmers market.  One of the things I like to get is fresh herbs like Italian parsley, basil, tarragon, and so on.  What is the best way to store them, once I get them home.

--Lina

If the herbs are sold in closed plastic bags, you want to let them breathe as soon as possible.  The major enemies of fresh herbs and other greens are lack of air and drops of water on the leaves.   Herbs need moisture to avoid wilting, but the leaves shouldn't be wet.

Once out of the bag, you can give them a quick rinse, if you would like, but be sure to blot any water off of the leaves with a clean towel, taking care not to crush the leaves.  For the same reason, I wouldn't recommend drying them in a salad spinner, which can damage the leaves and encourage spoilage.

After that, you have three choices.  For short term storage, you can put the herbs back into a plastic bag, but without closing it, and keep them in the vegetable crisper for a few days.  If you want, poke a few holes in the bag (before putting the herbs in!) to allow more air circulation.  To keep them for a bit longer, wrap them loosely in paper towel that has just been dampened lightly by spritzing it with a mister.  The tower should be damp, not soggy.  Place in an open plastic bag and keep in the crisper.  The added moisture will help prolong the storage life.

Finally, you can stand stems of parsley or other herbs in a container of water.  Only the stems should be submerged, not the leaves.  Place a large plastic bag loosely over the the container, allowing it to be open on the bottom so that air can circulate.  Stored like this, the herbs will stay fresh the longest.

If you are buying herbs from the supermarket, where they come in those rigid plastic containers with air holes, then you can just leave the herbs in the container for a few days, but use them soon.


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