If you are not going to use fresh herbs immediately after buying them, you should put them in the fridge. Simply wrap them in a moist paper towel and put them in a plastic bag (like a Ziploc). They should keep for about a week.
If you want to preserve them for longer, place the herbs in a glass with 2 to 3 cm of water. Then cover the glass with a plastic bag, securing it with a rubber band. This method will preserve them for 2 to 3 weeks. Don’t wash the herbs until you are about to use them, and only wash them if they are covered with sand and grit. Be sure to pat them dry before using.
Don’t be shy to use fresh herbs in all sorts of recipes, even in salads, instead of just throwing them out because you don’t know what to do with them.
If you use herbs in a recipe and there is some left over, chop it up and mix it with some butter. You can then use the perfumed butter to intensify the taste of a steak or grilled fish dish.
When it comes to parsley, which is sold in large bouquets (as opposed to the small 21g packages that other herbs are usually sold in), the best way to ensure you don’t waste anything is to put the bouquet in a food processor with some garlic cloves and a bit of olive oil.
Once combined, place the mixture in a jar. Be sure to cover the mixture with oil in order to keep it protected from the air. Screw the lid on tightly and immediately put it in the fridge. You can keep this Parsley and Garlic Base up to one month in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer. You can add this base to a number of recipes. This way, you save time from having to chop up the small amount of herbs that most recipes require.
You can’t dry or freeze fresh basil because it will turn black. The best way to preserve it is to make a Pesto Sauce with garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil. You should keep this sauce in the freezer either in a jar or in an ice cube tray.
During summer, it is very practical to grow your own herbs in a garden or on your balcony (if you are an apartment dweller). Having them within hand’s reach allows you to spice up as well as decorate your dishes. But what do you do with the left over herbs at the end of the summer? The right answer depends on the herb in question.