Storing Fresh Herbs

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Many herbs are young, delicate stems and leaves, and so more fragile than other produce. Because their stems have been cut, they’re likely to be producing the wound hormone ethylene, which in a closed container will accumulate and trigger general deterioration. Most are best stored in the refrigerator in partly open plastic bags, loosely wrapped in cloth or paper that will absorb moisture and prevent microbes from growing rapidly on wet leaves. Because they come from warm climates, basil and perilla suffer chilling injury in the refrigerator and so are best kept at room temperature, with freshly cut stems immersed in water.