Storing Herbs: Parsley and Basil

I love cooking with fresh herbs and some are almost always on my shopping list (parsley, basil, thyme). Herbs like thyme and rosemary give me no problems; they are hearty herbs that LAST. Parsley and basil, that’s another story.

After dealing with a lot of slimy parsley and wasted money, I had an idea. Why not treat them like fresh flowers? It worked! Now, whenever I bring parsley home I rinse it, cut the stems a bit and put them in some water by the windowsill. It looks pretty, can last a week or more and is easy to grab a bunch while cooking.

This is parsley from last Sunday--still looking fresh and pretty

This is parsley from last Sunday–still looking fresh and pretty

Basil remained my nemesis though. As much as I loved it, I was tired of it turning black and shriveled within a day or two. The package said not to keep it in the refrigerator, but to keep it at 55 degrees. Maybe if I had a wine fridge I could be weird and throw herbs in there, but I don’t and it’s never 55 degrees in my house so now what?

I tried treating it the same way as parsley and got a droopy, sad mess. SO i had to throw away half of it while cursing Basil and whoever wrote those 55 degrees instructions. Here’s what does work: chop your basil however you want it. Then toss it in a bit of olive oil. Make sure to coat all leaves, this keeps them from turning black. Then put the basil in a little sandwich baggie and freeze it. When you’re ready to use, pull it out. Since it’s in the baggie, it thaws really quick.


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Categories: Techniques


A former English teacher living in Stuttgart, Germany who finds some sanity and peace through cooking.


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One Comment on “Storing Herbs: Parsley and Basil”

  1. Deborah
    July 6, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Great tips! You could also freeze the basil in ice cube trays and then put the cubes in a baggie. The ice tray is also good for freezing extra meat drippings that are too good to toss.

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