in the kitchen

Making Fresh Herbs Last Longer

Go Gingham: Making fresh herbs last longer

I try to keep my food waste to a minimum in our kitchen. The only food I end up tossing into my compost bin at least monthly is cilantro. It gets hidden in the bottom of the refrigerator and forgotten – out of sight, out of mind. Then, I decided to think of my cilantro as a fresh flower, and keep it front and center. Guess what? Now it’s getting used before it has a chance to go bad. Making fresh herbs last longer is easy to do once you follow these easy steps.

Making fresh herbs last longer

1. Get your pretty vase ready with cold water before you have wet herbs in your hand. Go Gingham: Fresh herbs, fresh water

2. Next, rinse your herbs with cold water so they’re ready to be cut off as needed when you’re cooking. Give them a little shake to get the extra water drips off.

3. Using your kitchen scissors, make a fresh cut across the bottom of the herbs. This will help the herbs absorb the water. Leave the rubber band or twist tie on the bottom until after you cut the herbs. It’s much easier to keep them in your hand with a little help from the band/tie.

Go Gingham: Fresh herbs

4. A nice clean cut.

Go Gingham: How to keep herbs fresh

5. Put your fresh herbs in your pretty vase.

Go Gingham: How to store fresh herbs

6. Arrange your herbs with flowers from the garden and admire how they look.

Go Gingham: Making fresh herbs last longer

This cilantro looks so much nicer in a vase next to these flowers than it did at the bottom of my refrigerator going bad and getting smelly. No one wants to eat cilantro (or any herb for that matter) when it starts to go bad – including our backyard chickens. They turned up their noses (or beaks?) at my poor, pathetic cilantro. This has been a great way to keep an eye on my herbs so they don’t go bad before I’ve had a chance to cook with them. I also freeze my herbs when they get close to going bad. I just toss them in a plastic bag or other air-tight container and put that in the freezer. I label the herbs, too. Once they’re frozen, they all look the same – it can’t have anything to do with my eyesight, now can it?

How do you keep herbs lasting longer?

Go Gingham related links:

Strawberry picking adventures and how to freeze berries
Frugal grocery shopping and slowing down for family eating
I also like to save seeds and re-use those in my garden!
Three easy herbs to grow in your garden – super-duper easy!

15 thoughts on “Making Fresh Herbs Last Longer

  1. That is a pretty solution – the cilantro looks great beside your hydrangeas. I was just eyeing my basil this morning, thing that I should throw some of the leaves in a freezer bag. I’ll leave enough to make my tomato sauces, but don’t want to leave myself without any for the winter.

    Does cilantro freeze well? It’s not my favourite herb, but I have problems keeping it from flowering before I get my salsa made. If I could freeze it, that would be handy.


    1. Heidi, it freezes fine. I mean, it’s probably better in beans or in a soup but I’ve put it into salsa in a pinch. Try it and see!


    1. It really saves the old cilantro, Cathy! Plus, it’s pretty. Double bonus points. In fact, I just bought some cilantro this morning that needs to get out of the refrigerator and into a vase right now 😉


  2. I have always found it so interesting that when I bring cilantro home, it gets happier. I place it in a vase or glass with water of course, and put it by the window. One day I didn’t put it by the window an it looked frumpy, so I immediately moved, then it perked up. Funny little herbs:).


    1. They are funny! I’ve had the same experience with them perking up when they get their feet wet in the water. They seem to stand up straighter. Thanks for leaving a comment, Fabiola!


  3. I do this will all of my fresh herbs. Sometimes in a vase, sometimes in a plastic cup. I got a surprise with the last batch of Basil. It’s sprouted, and is destined for a pot in the back yard. I’m even going to try and winter it over to see what happens.


    1. If only basil would winter over!! I’ve been making pesto for years with several friends (once those kids get back to school…) and that’s how I live the year with basil around. I tried bringing thyme inside this past year, too. It didn’t like being next to a cold window. We have to live it up in summer, don’t we?


      1. I have mint, thyme, flat-leaf parsley, oregano, and chives that are now on their 5th year. I don’t bring them in at all. This year, I’m going to whack them all down to just above the pot, much like pruning roses, and then see what happens next year. I’m contemplating trying to make a cold frame for the basil, or I might put it in the garage – I want to see what happens if I try and keep it from freezing. If I have to replace all of them, oh, well. I’ve gotten 5 years out of them.


  4. What a great idea!!!! I can’t stand getting one use out of my cilantro before it goes bad. I hesitate to buy it unless I know I am going to use it right away for several cooking efforts. I am going to try this!


    1. Do, Annie, and let me know how it works out for you. I can’t stand to waste food so this has been a good solution to tossing food into the compost and money out the window! Thanks, Annie!


  5. I got so excited when I saw this post and had purchased cilantro earlier that day. I tried your trick and it did seem to perk up with fresh cold water in the sunlight however by day 3, it was so wilted, dehydrated and the parts submerged in water were all mushy and slimy. I was sad. I did get to use most of it so there was only a lil wasted but sadly, this trick didnt work well for me.

    I think I’ll try it again but place the entire vase in the fridge to see if it lasts more then 36 hours.


    1. Helen, after a weekend away with the cilantro on the window sill, mine was the same way. Partly, I think the heat during summer can be a problem…my window sill faces west and it cooked my poor herbs. The refrigerator is probably a good alternative to a hot window sill during the warmer months. My refrigerator isn’t a good spot for a jar with water because it’s too busy these days with my family getting in and out of it all day long!! Also, try just keeping the ends of the herbs in the water and not leaves. If I put less water in rather than more it seems to work out better. Thanks for leaving a comment! Just left one on your site 🙂


  6. Those do look pretty. It would be lovely to have a variety of different culinary herbs sitting in a vase, ready to use.

    With tender-stemmed herbs, such as parsley, dill and cilantro, I put a bunch into a glass with about 2 inches of water, with no leaves below water level, cover loosely with a plastic bag over the top and leave in the fridge. It seems to keep these herbs fresh for about 7-10 days. I place it on the top shelf, front and center, so I’ll see it, and it won’t have the tendency to freeze, as things do lower in my fridge.

    If I cut too much of herbal matter from my garden, I go ahead and chop whatever is leftover, and keep in a container in the fridge. (I love clear pyrex containers for this, as I can see the herbs being saved.) I’m more likely to use these leftovers, as they’re already prepared for cooking.

    Years ago, I bought a bunch of watercress that had roots still on. I used half and planted the other half. I now have free watercress every year.


    1. Lili, you are so right – the more you see the items in your refrigerator the more you’ll use them rather than letting them go bad. Our of sight our of mind! Thanks for the tip on the watercress, too. I did the same thing with lemongrass but it doesn’t winter over. Thanks for the comment!


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