Bags of herbs from the supermarket cost up to £1.75 a pack, but you rarely need the whole bunch all at once. The rest can go limp or mouldy in the fridge very quickly. Here are some ideas for keeping herbs fresher for longer.
- Trim the stalks then wrap woody-stemmed herbs such as thyme, rosemary and tarragon in damp kitchen roll and put in a plastic bag or container in the fridge. They should remain good to use for at least 7 days.
Soft leafy herbs
- Trim bunches of fresh parsley and coriander and place in a clean jam jars with just a couple of centimetres of cold water. Put into a large zip-seal bags and close almost fully, leaving just 2cm open at one corner. Keep in the door of the fridge and they could last up to 2 weeks, or longer, if you change the water every few days.
- Revive droopy leaves from an open pack of parsley or coriander, by giving them a bath in a bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes and they’ll be as good as freshly cut.
- Hold the bunch together with an elastic band and trim the ends. Put in the iced water for 30 minutes, then take out of the water, shake well and pat dry with kitchen roll or a clean tea towel. You can also dry them in a salad spinner. Remove as much moisture as possible before chopping.
- Freeze chopped herbs in small, lidded pots or baby food containers with a little olive oil or cold water and add to your food from frozen – great for boosting the flavour of casseroles, curries and sauces. If you use silicone baby food or mini muffin trays, you can pop the frozen herbs out and store in a freezer bag to make more space in your freezer. Freeze for up to 4 months.
- You can freeze most fresh herbs as a tied bunch, then crumble into food as and when you need them. This is a great method for adding flavour to casseroles, curries and soups and works particularly well for soft herbs such as parsley, coriander, mint and basil. Freezing for up to a month is best, so if you want them to last any longer, chop finely and mix with oil.
- Buy exotic herbs, such as kaffir lime leaves and curry leaves, when you see them. Freeze in well-sealed bags or lidded containers and use from frozen within 4 months.