- Look for vibrant colours as a faded colour is a sign of flavour loss.
- When you crush a small leaf or herb piece in your hand, you should smell a fragrant and intense aroma.
Proper storage of herbs will help them last longer and keep flavour intact.
It is best to use fresh herbs within one week so that fragrance and flavour are maximized.
- Store fresh herbs in a glass jar with the stems immersed in water.
- After you wash your herbs, completely air dry them or pat with a dishcloth to remove extra moisture. Wrap herbs in a paper towel and then store in a perforated plastic sealable bag in the refrigerator.
- Dry your own herbs by first washing and then placing them on a muslin (cotton cloth) until the leaves are dry and brittle to touch (time varies per herb). Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf life guidelines
- Fresh herbs: 1 week in the refrigerator.
- Dried herbs: 1-3 years in a cool, dark place.
Freezing herbs: Fresh versus dried
Store fresh herbs in the freezer to extend their shelf life. Freeze them whole, chopped, or pureed – whatever meets your needs! Avoid freezing dried herbs as this does not extend their shelf life and results in loss of flavour and aroma.
A neat trick: If you want to use herbs and spices for soups, stews, or other liquid based dishes, store fresh chopped herbs in an ice-cube tray in the freezer. Fill half the tray with herbs and half with water, and let freeze.
Did you know? Rubbing leafy herbs in the palm of your hands before adding them to your pan of goodness will help to release flavour and aroma.