On a recent excursion to the grocery store, I snapped up several beautiful basil bouquets. Stuffing the fragrant green bunches into my recycled shopping bag, I imagined all the wonderful things I’d be making over the next week: pesto, Italian salads, basil lemonade. All those delicious dreams came crashing to a halt the next day when I pulled the once-pretty bunches from the fridge and discovered a mass of wilted and discolored leaves with desiccated tips. Since then, I’ve learned about not just extending fresh basil’s lifespan, but that of other herbs too.
The leaves of this fragrant herb are delicate and prone to both discoloration and wilting if the conditions aren’t just right. To prolong their freshness, store your basil in a glass jar filled with just enough water to cover an inch of the stems. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and store at room temperature (a countertop works well), replenishing the water as needed.
Unlike basil, cilantro prefers a cool environment, so it needs to be kept in the fridge. To prep it for cold storage, trim a half-inch off the bottom of the stems and place the bundle in a glass jar with just enough water to cover the stems. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and remember to change the water daily.
Hardier than many other green herbs, parsley can withstand temperature and humidity fluctuations better than basil and cilantro, and can be washed before storing. To maintain optimal freshness, prep the parsley as you would cilantro, using the plastic bag method, and store in the refrigerator.
Fresh rosemary tends to lose its moisture quickly, taking its tasty, pungent essential oils with it as it dries. To keep your sprigs fresh and flavorful for weeks, rinse them under cold water, then wrap the still-wet stems in a paper towel before storing in a zip-top bag in the fridge.
Aurelia d’Andrea’s passion for travel is deeply intertwined with her love of food. Whether in Perth, Prague, or Phnom Penh, she always gravitates toward local markets in search of edible treasures, and takes pleasure in re-creating tasty travel memories at home in her tiny Parisian kitchen.