This scene probably sounds familiar: On your weekly grocery trip, you picked up some green onions and cilantro for a meal later in the week. When you arrived home, the herbs, stored safely in their produce bags, went into the fridge. Three days later, you open up the produce drawer only to find that the fresh herbs have now gone slimy, wilty, and unappetizing. Yuck!
This is particularly the case with delicate green herbs that come in great big bundles at the store. Who uses that much cilantro anyway? Unfortunately, many of these herbs end up getting tossed out just a few days after their purchase. But they don’t have to be. Here are a few tips to storing herbs that can keep them fresh for sometimes up to two weeks instead of two days.
First of all, get rid of the plastic produce bag. Next, snip the ends of leafy herbs like cilantro and parsley. Fill a jar or glass partially with water and place the herbs in stem down. Green onions do not need to be snipped—just place their roots into the glass of water.
Cilantro likes cold temperatures and should ideally be stored in the refrigerator like this. Some recommend covering the leaves with a loose plastic baggie before placing it in the fridge. Herbs like basil, parsley, and green onions do better at room temperature.
If water begins to show discoloration after a few days, change it out for fresh water. Herbs can be stored for much longer this way and won’t go wilty like they do when simply tossed in the refrigerator in a bag.
You may notice that your green onions actually continue to grow when stored like this. We’ve snipped our green onions down for one meal and came back a few days later to find that they had almost completely regrown! The roots can also be replanted after you’ve snipped them down, so don’t just toss them away. The roots grow extremely shallow and the plant grows very quickly.
If you notice that your herbs do start to wilt, you can also store them in the freezer. Pull the leaves from the water and let them dry completely out. You may then cut the herbs up if desired. Put them on a metal cookie tray and place in the freezer. Once they are completely frozen, you may transfer them to a plastic freezer bag and store for up to 12 months in the freezer.