Ever since I learned how to successfully store a big bunch of fresh basil in my kitchen for three straight weeks, I have had no worries buying fresh herbs anymore, not because I become a herb expert all of sudden, but because I know there has to be ways to keep these special plants longer. I just need to find the best and practical way, try it out, and then share the results with you so that hopefully you can just guilt-freely grab your favorite fresh herbs in the grocery store.

Trust me, I know exactly how you feel when you can’t use up fresh herbs quickly enough and have to dump them into you trash can… So Let’s try to prevent it from happening again.

Here is a collection of tips about how to handle fresh herbs in your kitchen in order to get the most out of them in different ways. The resource comes from a few old cookbooks and the internet – the greatest place to learn. I have tried some of the tips with absolute satisfaction. The rest is what I personally think would be useful. Therefore, I just summed up everything below for your reference (and mine too)! 🙂 Feel free to add more.

Let’s start with mint.

How To Preserve Fresh Mint
HOW TO PRESERVE FRESH MINT

This bunch of fresh mint has been staying in this fantastic status for 10 days as of September 17, 2013 when I took this photo. (Got it on September 8 according to my grocery shopping record.) I am confident that it’s going to last for at least another week before I finish it.

Method #1 Treat Mint Like Flowers

  1. Remove the rubber band that holds the mint together after you bring a fresh bunch home.
  2. Trim the end of the stems by cutting off the leaves to allow some space at the cut ends. (Use these leaves for cooking or if you can’t use up all of them, there’s another way to keep them. Please refer to method #2.)
  3. In a relatively tall container such as a jar or a mug, carefully stick the mint stems in and add enough water to cover the cut ends.
  4. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and keep the contraption in your fridge.

Change water every two or three days. Just like basil, mint will probably root if you keep it long enough. This method can also be applied to store fresh scallion, parsley, and basil except that you don’t need to put basil into the fridge. Fresh herbs can last for a few weeks this way.

How To Preserve Mint

Method #2 Wrap Mint Leaves With A Damp Paper Towel

  1. Lay mint leaves on a damp paper towel. If you find the paper towel is too wet, just gently wring out the water.
  2. Wrap up the leaves with the paper towel and place it into plastic bag. Make sure the plastic bag is big enough not to crush the leaves. Seal it.
  3. Place the plastic bag in your fridge.

Mint can be stored for at least two weeks this way. It also works for most other herbs, I particularly use this method to store cilantro.

How To Preserve Fresh Mint

OTHER WAYS TO STORE FRESH HERBS

Method #1 Purée Fresh Herb Leaves
Gather fresh herb leaves, wash and dry them, and then purée the leaves in a food processor or blender with fresh garlic and a little extra-virgin olive oil. Fill small jars with the mixture and put the jars in your freezer. (Baby-food jars are recommended here, but I am obviously not going to get any for now.)

When fresh herbs are out of season, these small portions are supposed to be perfect for flavoring sauces, soups, casseroles, and marinades; for topping meat, poultry, and fish dishes before baking; for many more uses as you can come up with. It’s a great way to add a variety of fresh goodness to your cooking in all seasons.

Method #2 Freeze Herbs Into Ice Cube Trays
Delicate herbs like basil, dill, chives, chervils, and parsley don’t taste very good when dried. Instead, freezing them works very well. Just chop the herbs, portion them generously into ice cube trays, and add a little chicken broth. Mint can be stored this way too but instead of using chicken broth, use water. This allows you to add the mint cubes to your iced tea and other cold drinks. (This is pure genius!)

Method #3 Use Up Fresh Herbs By Making Compound Butter
Combine fresh herbs with cold unsalted butter in your food processor and chop them. Shape the butter into small logs and wrap them in several layer of plastic wrap before refrigerating them or freezing them. Compound butters should be great for flavoring pasta, grilled fish or chicken, sauces, etc…

PS: A Tip For Dried Herbs
In order to get the most out of dried herbs, rub them between the palms of your hands before using them. This crushing action helps release their flavor more.

That’s all for now. I am sure there are many more ways to treat fresh herbs in order to prevent waste and probably many more other ways will be discovered or created as we continue our cooking journey. If you ever come across one, please share.

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22 thoughts on “How to Preserve Fresh Mint & More Tips for Herbs”

  1. Mahalo for the info. all this time I've been wrapping my veges w/a dry paper towel thinking that would keep them 'going bad'. I put my fresh mint in a cup of water and put in the fridge~~next day half of it turned black and wilted........I put them in the garbage disposal w/some lemon juice to make it smell good. I will try the 'wet paper towel method.......I do so LOVE fresh mint on my fish fillets & iced tea. Mahalo*
  2. Thanks for all the info. But will cut mint turn black once it's put in a jelly or salad or whatever. If so how can it be prevented???
    1. Hi Nancy, if you cut mint off the stems and use it for salad, it's best that you enjoy it when it's still fresh. If you have a big bunch of mint and can't use it all at once, hope this tip can help you preserve mint for longer. Cheers!
  3. Thanks I did not know that you you can put the herbs in water. What I do is cut off some of the stems and wrap it around with wet paper towel and put any type of small plastic bag no top you can also us the bag you put your produce in, it will do just the same no need to buy baggies.
    1. Hey Cerrina! You are absolutely right. That's exactly what I do with loose mint leaves. It works great. :)
  4. Wrapping salad in wet towel works perfectly! I can keep them fresh for over a week :) I didn't know that the same applies to mint! Just brought mine today and putting in a jar like flowers :) Thanks!
    1. Oh, I didn't know the same applies to salad. I must try that from now on. Thanks, Beata! Love the idea exchange. :)
  5. Thanks for posting these great ideas....tried it with mint & worked beautifully. Any suggestions for fresh rosemary?
    1. Rosemary...hmmm...not at the moment, but I will find out. :) Glad to know the mint tip worked well for you. Thanks for the comment!
  6. Thank you for the tip on mint leaves, unfortunately it came a little to late for me. I just brought the mint leaves yesterday and left them out on the counter overnight and this morning they look a week old, so i will purchase another bunch today and use your storing method. Thanks a million:)
    1. Thank you, I bought some mint leaves at the grocery store and ended up throwing half of it away because it turned black. I was trying to figure out what to do. So thanks!
  7. Thank you SO MUCH! I knew I could do this with asparagus and just tried it with cilantro (worked beautifully - they've been in the fridge a week and still kicking). I just brought home some mint and thought, "gee, that trick might work (in a jar of water), I wonder if they'll get mildewy." Seeing how it's been a success for you, I'm going to give it a shot. Thanks again, Jen
  8. Thank you so much for posting this! I tried it this week and wow! The mint leaves are still kicking. I juice Tuesday through Friday and my mint leaves would only last 3 days at best. I'm so glad I found your blog. Many thanks. =)
    1. Awesome!!! Thanks a lot David for sharing your experience! So glad that your found this tip helpful! :D
    1. No problem Maria! Glad that you like the paper towel method! It's pretty convenient. Every time I make a lemonade, I just grab a few leaves and throw them in the beverage. Makes it yummier. :D

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