5 Popular Herbs And How To Keep Them Fresh For Way Longer

Extend the shelf life of your market-fresh herbs with these easy tricks.

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When the air is warm we tend to crave lighter meals. That’s why cooking in the summer is a breeze — it’s all about easy eating. At this time of year, the best way to jazz up quick meals is to add a sprinkling of fresh herbs. Not only do they add a delicious pop of flavour, but also pair amazingly well with your go-to grilled dinners and side salads.

After bringing your herbs home from the market, make sure to store them properly to maximize their shelf life. Wrapping them in damp paper towel and placing them in a plastic bag in the fridge is the quickest method, but you can also set them in a shallow cup of water, covering them with plastic before refrigerating.

Kitchen note: Basil is sensitive to the cold, so you’re better off storing it in a glass of water on the counter or windowsill.

5 popular herbs, and how to use them

Cilantro
This leafy herb goes well with a variety of Asian dishes. Try it in our no-cook shrimp and mango noodle salad and grilled steak with spicy cilantro sauce.

Basil
Basil complements a variety of dishes, from sweet dishes ( try it sprinkled over an open blueberry pie) to savoury dishes like grilled flank steak with tomatoes or use it in a fruity garden tomato and peach salad.

Mint
This refreshing herb is a must in summer’s favourite cocktail, the mojito. The leaves also add sweetness to dishes like this watermelon & cucumber salad and our Greek-inspired lamb burgers with feta and mint.

Parsley
This mildly bitter herb is a great balancer for savoury dishes. One of our go-to garnishes, we like it on a summery potato salad, or in a fresh Mediterranean side salad like tabbouleh.

Dill
This aromatic herb goes perfectly with seafood. This summer, try it in a dijon-dill shrimp salad or our salmon and lentil pilaf.

More:
15 to-die-for bakeries across Canada
How to make fried herbs
A guide to summer fruits and vegetables

 

Originally published July 2014, updated September 2019.