Cathy Isom tells us how to keep those fresh herbs around long after they’ve been picked. That’s coming up on “This Land of Ours.”
Fresh herbs can be fabulous for your health, but if not stored properly and quickly, can go bad before they can do you any good. That depends on which type of herbs you gather – either leafy, soft-stemmed parsley, basil and cilantro — or, wood-stemmed rosemary, thyme, and sage. There are ways to extend the shelf-life of your favorites by weeks, months, even up to a year.
Using the Bouquet Method: Trim the ends of soft stemmed herbs, remove any wilted or dead leaves, and place in a small cup or vase three-quarters full of water. Or the Plastic Bag Method: Wrap fresh, dry herbs loosely in a dry paper towel, place in a plastic bag, then blow the bag up like a balloon and seal. The carbon dioxide from your breath will keep the greens perky. You could also freeze herbs. Lay them flat in freezer bags, or press into ice-cube trays. Freezing herbs in olive oil is also a great way to preserve fresh flavor and prevent freezer burn. The Dry Method works well, too, by hanging them upside down or by using a dehydrator or oven. Once dried, they can be stored in airtight bottles, containers, or bags for up to a year.