Wednesday, July 21, 2010

how to :: store fresh herbs

So you've a gorgeous bunch of fresh basil straight from the greenmarket, or you've got more mint growing on your windowsill than you know what to do with, or far too much cilantro to use in just one or 2 meals.  What's a gal to do?  Store those lovelies and keep them fresh and bright for future use - ok, future meaning about 3 to 5 days if not more, but still.  An enlightening dinner this past weekend at NYC's Hencho en Dumbo (Bowery & 4th St.), alerted me to a genius - and gorgeous - way to store fresh herbs.  Mexican food and fresh herbs?  Yup.  There I was, sitting at the bar with a friend, watching the bartender make endless mojitos and margaritas (both are phenomenal by the way).  When grabbing fresh mint for the mojito, he reached for a mason jar -- outfitted with a damp paper towel on the bottom then packed with fresh mint leaves to the brim.  Lightbulb!  Why hadn't I ever thought of this before?  Sure, I've stored fresh herbs wrapped in a damp paper towel and I've also stored them in a small glass filled with an inch or two of water.  Both ways do the trick, but not for very long - at least not in my fridge.  The jar and wet towel create the perfect moist environment for delicate herbs and the mason jars just look utterly cool and stylish sitting pretty in your fridge or even on the kitchen counter.  Keep in mind that long-stemmed herbs like mint, cilantro, basil, parsley and tarragon will work best in a jar.  For herbs like rosemary, thyme and chives, wrap them loosely in plastic wrap and store in the fridge - too much moisture may cause them to mold.     

use a mason jar to create an indoor "herbarium" - add some potting soil, a few rocks and a spot on your windowsill and you've got the perfect moist environment for growing

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