Fresh herbs are one of my favorite ways to add flavor to my meals while also including more plant based foods. Eating a diversity of plant based foods supports a large number of different species in your gut microbiome. This diversity is essential for a resilient and healthy gut. I like to add cilantro to my breakfast eggs, mint to midday smoothies, and chopped parsley atop chicken or pork for dinner – the combinations of herbs and meals are endless.
Ideally, I recommend growing your own herbs in your garden but know this isn’t always a possibility due to space or the lack of a green thumb. One herb I often buy instead of growing is cilantro since I’m the only one in our household that enjoys it. I found that whether from the farmer’s market or grocery store, my fresh cilantro wasn’t lasting for more than a week or so. It would often wilt, discolor or get slimy, none of which are appetizing. I even tried leaving it on my counter in some water with no luck extending the freshness. I eventually came across a method that works wonders for both quality and shelf life. The method that I outline below is keeping my market bought herbs fresh for over three weeks. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
1. Get a sturdy glass cup or mason jar that you can easily stand the stems of your herbs in, without tipping over. I use a 5 inch tall mason jar.
2. Cut the very end of the stems off like you would fresh flowers, just a half inch or so.
3. Fill the cup or jar about halfway with water.
4. Place the herbs in the jar so the stems are submerged in the water. I will often keep the rubber band that they come with to keep them all together.
5. Place a paper towel over the herbs and cover with a produce bag. Attach the bag to the jar with a rubber band so that air doesn’t escape. The paper towel helps absorb any excess moisture which also helps with the freshness.
6. Place the jar of herbs in the fridge. Be sure not to knock it over when grabbing other items of the fridge!
The secured bag creates an environment similar to a greenhouse. You can easily remove the bag from the jar to cut off the amount of herbs you need, then replace to keep them fresh until your next use.