How to keep fresh herbs - parsley
I love cooking with fresh herbs, I love the flavour they add to cooking and prefer it over dried herbs in most instances. What I don't like, is buying little bunches of them wrapped in plastic only for them to perish before I get a chance to use them. I also hate picking off individual tiny leaves but there isn't much I can do about that part (anyone have any ideas or tips to make this easier?).
Fresh herbs are also a great nutritious addition to any meal. They contain antioxidants that have been shown to support good health. Different herbs will have different health benefits, this is why its great to aim for variety. They also add flavour to meals, so if you're trying to reduce your salt intake but find your meals bland, add herbs.
While I'd ideally be able to grow my own herbs, I haven't yet mastered my green thumb to grow sufficient quantities to match my appetite. I'll keep trying but in the meantime store bought is where I'm at. So if I can make them last longer then at least I can buy them in bulk from the market where they don't come in plastic and I'll use them without resorting to adding them to the compost.
I've read plenty about the best way to store fresh herbs and thought I'd do my own experiment to see which method works the best. Each herb would be different but I'm starting with continental parsley as this is the herb I probably buy the most (thanks chimichurri).
The three methods I'm comparing are:
Glass of water, changing the water every 2 days and kept out of direct sunlight - to avoid wasting the water I use it the leftover water to water my indoor plants.
Wrapped in paper towel in a container in the fridge.
Left in the plastic wrap and placed into the veggie crisper drawer with other green leafy veg.
Day 1 - All three methods ready to go
Day 3 - After just three days, the herbs left in the wrap and placed in the fridge had already started to wilt and turn yellow. The other two options looked fine.
Day 8 - It took another five days for the parsley left in the glass of water to begin to wilt and turn yellow although it was still firm. The parsley in the paper towel still looked fresh.
WINNER = Wrapped in paper towel in a container in the fridge.
The paper towel method was far superior than the other two methods for continental parsley. Although 8 days isn't bad with the glass of fresh water. If you don't have spare room in the fridge and can use the parsley in 8 days then keeping in a glass of fresh water is better than leaving unwrapped in the fridge.
I should note that during the experiment the temperature was mid 20 celsius in my kitchen. Perhaps in cooler weather the glass jar method may have faired better. Also despite turning yellow and wilting, I still used all the parsley in this experiment in my cooking. I used it to add flavour to a dish versus using it in chimichurri as parsley is the hero ingredient and really needs the freshest parsley in my opinion.