FAST FACTS: Storing Herbs for Later

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Photography by Tessa DeLine.

Fresh-picked, aromatic herbs signal summer to home gardeners and cooks. For the freshest herbs, grow your own. Herbs are among the easiest plants for beginning gardeners and they grow well in pots, so you don’t need a lot of space. Herbs are also packed with valuable nutrients and antioxidants.

If you have an abundance of herbs, you may want to consider storing the bounty for the offseason.

Short-term: Fresh herbs don’t have a long shelf life in general. If you cut extra and want to save for use in the near future, wrap herbs in a slightly damp paper towel and place in a zip bag. Leave a little air inside the bag. When you are ready to use, cut off any wilted or discolored leaves.

Long-term: Depending on the herb, you can dry or freeze to store. Oregano, thyme, lavender, rosemary and mint are good herbs for drying. Hang them upside down in bunches to dry. Then, strip off the leaves and store in an airtight container. For leafy herbs like basil and parsley, freeze in ice cube trays with a little water. Thaw before using.

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