This Is the Best Way to Keep Your Herbs Fresh

You can keep herbs fresh for up to a month—if you know how to store parsley, cilantro and basil the right way.

Do you have trouble keeping herbs bright and fresh?

Have you ever reached hopefully into the produce drawer for parsley only to find—uh-oh—it has somehow transformed into a liquid-y blob since you last saw it?

I have a trick for you—do this and you’ll always have fresh parsley on hand for Smashed Potatoes, Parsley Butter or a classic Shrimp Scampi.

How to Store Parsley (and Other Fresh Herbs)

showing how to store parsley in a glass with waterTaste of Home

The Trick Is to Treat Fresh Herbs Like Flowers

It’s a simple rule of thumb to help you get the most longevity out of your herbs. Like flowers, fresh herbs benefit from having a freshly cut stem. This maximizes the herbs’ ability to take up water and remain turgid—the scientific term for fresh and firm, not droopy, plant cells.

Start with a fresh-cut stem for fresh herb bunches such as parsley, basil, cilantro and mint. (Psst! Find great ways to cook with them in this ultimate guide.)

Next, prep your “vase,” which is any sturdy tumbler that won’t tip over without a fight. Add about an inch of water. Just like with flowers, make sure no leaves are immersed in the water. This hastens spoilage and quickly ups the funk factor. To keep herbs fresh for up to a month, take the time to carefully clean and arrange the herb bunch.

Pro Tip: Use the knowledge that you’ll be storing your fresh herbs in a vase the next time you pick up a bunch. Choose a tidy one!

Prolong Life in the Fridge

Just like at the florist, parsley and cilantro last longest when they’re kept in the cool. Our home refrigerators are notoriously dry places, though. Easy fix? Tie a produce bag around the top of the bunch to protect your herbs. The bag traps humidity so herbs don’t wither.

Pro Tip: Each time you use the parsley, change the water and turn the produce bag inside out so any moisture that has built up inside the bag can escape.

Keep Certain Herbs on the Countertop

Basil and mint are too delicate for the fridge’s cold temps. They’ll soften and decay faster in the chilly confines of the icebox. Keep a pretty vase of them on the counter (or a pot growing on your patio) for all your summertime favorites. (You can find some knockout basil recipes here. You’re welcome!)

You Can Use Fresh Herbs in All Kinds of Recipes, Both Sweet and Savory!
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Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a senior book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.