Wow. That sounds really boring. I cannot tell a lie. It sort of is. But it’s also one of my kitchen routines that I feel strongly about, so I’m sharing it anyway. If you’ve decided to keep reading, grab a cup of coffee and try to stay awake. I’ll keep this as short or as entertaining as possible. Thanks for sticking with me.
Today, I’m washing and storing Italian flat-leaf parsley and cilantro. These two are like family. They’re always in the house, always in the fridge, and if you don’t show them some love, they’ll wither and die. I’ve learned that if I invest a little time in prepping them when they come home from the store, I can make them last longer. Let’s break it down. DJ…can I get a beat?
Home in a plastic store bag & unwashed = rotten in 3-4 days
Washed, prepped & bagged properly = good for 7-10 days
Step 1 – a bath & a trip to the carnival
I try to wash and prep my herbs within 24 hours of bringing them home from the store. I give them a cold water bath and a quick trip to the carnival with a long ride in the Salad Spinner. Then I dump them out onto paper towels on my counter so I have room to work. Each herb gets their own little party pad.
Step 2 – stem those little suckers
This step is especially important for the Italian parsley. Those stems gotta go. Yes, this step takes a little time, but the end result is worth it. Those little beauties will be all dressed up with their make-up on and ready to party if you spend a little spa time up front. Ha! That’s what SHE said!
The cilantro is a little different. Big stems are out, but little, thin stems can stay.
Once each herb is stemmed and ready to roll, fold the paper towels they’re sitting on as if you’re diapering a baby – opposite corners together, bottom folded up, then top folded down. If you’re not familiar with baby diapering, think of it as making a paper towel envelope around your herbs. It’s okay if the paper towels are slightly damp. You just don’t want them to be more than slightly damp. Place into labeled freeze bags and press most of the air out. If you’re really organized, you can write the date on the bag along with the name. Or you can be like me and peek in the bag. If it looks good, great! If it’s mushy and looks like a garden slug, it’s time to toss it out. Gross? Sure…but effective.
Place your herb bags in the vegetable bin in your fridge, and try not to stack anything on top of them. If you don’t have a veggie bin or use yours to store beer, pickles and Ding Dongs, stand them up on a shelf somewhere. Just try not to crush them, and don’t push them against the back wall of your fridge. It’s too cold back there, which can cause frost damage. Don’t throw your stems in the trash. Send them down the garbage disposal to make your kitchen smell good. I do the same thing with citrus fruits, once they’re juiced. That’s it! You’re ready to save money by having herbs that last longer, and time by having herbs that are ready to go when you need them. Simple and sensible. That’s how I like it.