How I Store Herbs to Keep Them Fresh and Wilt-Free

There’s nothing scarier than reaching for that bunch of cilantro or parsley that you bought a week ago. Only to find a wilty, stinky and yes, sometimes slimy wad of green stuff that only somewhat resembles a once living plant.

Ok, so there’s probably a lot of things scarier than that. Especially today. Hello? Zombies, Jason Voorhees and that freaky gal from the Exorcist who loves the cross a little too much. But I still don’t want wilty herbs all up in my fridge. For the record, I don’t want Freddy Krueger in there either.

How I store herbs to keep them fresh -Luminous Vegans

For awhile, I was having the hardest time keeping herbs fresh beyond just a couple of days.

I tried different storage methods. I treated them like flowers and put them in a jar with water after cutting the stems. I left the jars out on the kitchen counter. Nope, still got wilty very quickly.

I tried it again but moved the jars to the fridge. Wilt city.

Every where on the internets told me that this should work. So I gave it one more go. But this time I did the whole plastic bag thingie over the jar. That just led to a ton of moisture in the bag and slimy herbs.

Plus, having to deal with refreshing the water in the jars all the time? Ain’t nobody got time for all dat!

How I store herbs to keep them fresh -Luminous Vegans

What works for me resulted from my effort to keep it simple. I’ve been doing it this way since summer and find that it helps extend the life of herbs drastically. All I do is wash the herbs when I get them from the farmer’s market.

How I store herbs to keep them fresh -Luminous Vegans

After they’ve air-dried for a bit, I wrap them in a clean kitchen towel and dab at them to get them as dry as possible. Then I pop them in an air tight tupperware (cutting the stems if necessary space-wise) and put it in the fridge. That’s it!

I don’t have a bunch of air tight tupperware. So I also use these take-out soup containers and they work just as well. When I use these, I place the herbs in stem first.

How I store herbs to keep them fresh -Luminous Vegans

Below is some parsley that’s been in the fridge for nearly 2 weeks (I checked the date on the pics) and they’re still going strong. I’ve also tested this method on basil and cilantro. These herbs are a little more delicate and I can’t remember if they hit the 2 week mark or not. But their freshness was extended drastically!

How I store herbs to keep them fresh -Luminous Vegans

I like this method because it works for me AND it’s hands-off after the initial rinsing and drying. When I have paper towels, I’ll also loosely wrap the dried herbs in them before putting them in the container to continue wicking away the moisture. But for me, it works well either way. Maybe slightly better with the paper towels. But we don’t usually use paper towels, so we don’t have ‘em in the house often.

Gone are the days of finding frighteningly wilty herbs only days after buying them! I’m happy to have finally found something that works for me.

How do you store herbs to keep them from going wilt-city on you?

38 thoughts on “How I Store Herbs to Keep Them Fresh and Wilt-Free

    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Awesome! I’d love to know how it works for you. It seems that people all over the internet have different results from different methods. I suppose this might have something to do with climate, refrigerator, etc.

      Reply
  1. Katie @ Produce on Parade

    Ahhh I’m going crazy! I have to try this. I too do the water in the jar thing, only if I remember though…and since all my herbs are now dying inside the house (I tried to save them), I have to buy them! You’re so smart, I’ll have to try this out! Happy Halloween, friend! :)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      It’s tough to remember to do the jar thing. Plus, we use jars for drinking and we don’t have a lot of glassware. So when I used the jars, half of our drinking glasses seemed to be in the fridge :-P I’d love to know if it works for you. Hope you had a wonderful Halloween Katie!

      Reply
  2. acookinthemaking

    I have NO luck with keeping herbs from wilting. Basil and cilantro are always the worst for me. It’s so sad because I love to have fresh herbs around but I can’t justify the cost of buying them, using for one recipe, and then having the rest go bad. I’m definitely going to have to try this trick!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      That is really how I felt before summer! I would get so mad at myself for yet another bunch of herbs turning into mush in the fridge. I’d love to know how this works for you. Like I said, basil and cilantro don’t seem to kick it as long as parsley with this method but the extension time is definitely improved and noticeable!

      Reply
  3. RG

    Cilantro is so notorious for wilting quickly that sometimes I don’t even bother buying it even though it would make my dish great. I’ll try your method. I’ve been weary about plastic takeout containers because they leave a funky smell after awhile. I guess I could remedy that by retiring the containers after some time. Anyway, thanks for the tip!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      If you don’t like plastic takeout containers, you can always use another type of air tight container. I alternate between these takeout containers and this BPA-free plastic tupperware lunch thingie. I’d love to know how it works for you. I found in my research for this post that many people have different results for different methods probably due to climate, refrigerator, etc.

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Aweseome! I’d love to know how it works for you. As I mentioned above (below? I don’t know how these comments work), when I did my research for this post it seemed that people had different results with different methods. Most likely due to different fridges and/or climates?

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I wish I had a garden of herbs in the summer. I have tried twice to grow my own basil in a large pot on our porch and have failed miserably! :-( I guess I’m just not green-thumb enough. I’d love to know if this method works for you to extend the life of herbs.

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Awesome! I really liked the water method because it looked pretty on the counter, but it just didn’t work for me. I’d love to know how it works for you. From my research for this post, it seems people have different results with different methods.

      Reply
      1. Becky

        That is so funny. I guess different sorts of water and maybe different light situations in the kitchen? I hope we get herbs in our next CSA basket so I can try this!

        Reply
  4. Deborah

    I’m exstatic, you shared your findings, as this has been an ongoing problem for me, and I felt stupid, that I couldn’t keep them fresh and annoyed with the waste. Thanks a bunch :-)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Awesome! I can totally feel ya! Early summer, I was getting sooo frustrated with the herb thing. I blamed everything like the fridge for not working right, the farmer’s market for putting out bad herbs..etc. I’d love to know how this method works for you.

      Reply
  5. Katie

    Wow, thanks for the great tip! I almost have an aversion to buying fresh herbs because I know I’ll probably only get to use a handful before they get gross. This is a gamechanger!! :-)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Great! You’re right…having them as completely DRY as possible before storage is key. I find that sometimes the plastic containers get a little more moist when I don’t dry them as well. And hence they don’t last as long, though still much longer than without this storage method.

      Reply
  6. Andrea

    I store my herbs in plastic bags and they get all slimy like yours used to. I’m going to try the plastic container method. Maybe I should go get some takeout! :)

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      Awesome! I’m glad to know that I’m not the only hoarder of these takeout containers. :-) They really are great for so many other things. I’d love to know how it works for you.

      Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I think this tupperware method is very similar to putting it in a ziplock bag as it is doing something to kinda keep the air out (?). I find the tupperware works even better when I wrap it in papertowels but sometimes I just don’t have papertowels. If we get some ziplock bags sometime, I’ll try it this way too to compare. Thanks for the tip!

      Reply
  7. Hannah

    Fresh herbs are so difficult sometimes! We are big cilantro lovers so I dedicated myself to finding a storage method for it that works. We roll it up in a damp paper towel like a burrito and keep it in a baggy in the crisper. It really keeps!

    I have the hardest time keeping parsley fresh so I may try this. I love using parsley and would love to always have it around!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I will have to try the baggy method if we get ziploc bags sometime. You’re the second person to mention it and I think I saw this method floating around the webs when I did research for the post.

      Reply
  8. Amanda

    This is an awesome tip! Can I just say that your blog is looking amazing! The pictures, the recipes, everything. While I haven’t been commenting, I’ve definitely been reading. Good stuff!

    Reply
  9. Cadry's Kitchen

    I’ve tried the “flower method” with herbs too, putting them in a cup with water. It didn’t work at all. The best luck I’ve had so far with cilantro is keeping them in their bag from the grocery store but filling the bag with air before putting it in the refrigerator (kind of like making a quick balloon) and then tying it off. The cilantro still gets slimy eventually, though. I’ve also tried freezing the cilantro, but I don’t like how dark green the cilantro looks when it’s used after that. It looks old and unappealing. I’m going to try your method next!

    Reply
    1. luminousvegans Post author

      I’ve actually seen this “balloon” method used at the farmer’s market for things like baby arugula. I’ve never tried freezing my herbs but I may try that some day.

      Reply
      1. Cadry's Kitchen

        When Colleen Patrick-Goudreau freezes herbs like parsley, she washes them, removes the leaves from the stems, dries them, lays them flat on a parchment-sheet covered baking sheet, and puts them in the freezer until they’re solid. Then she puts each of the frozen leaves into a jar in the freezer. Since they’ve all been frozen separately, it’s easier to take out just a few leaves at a time. I’ve never been so ahead of the game to do that method, but it sounds like a great idea!

        Reply

Leave a comment (no login required)