7 Surprising Life Hacks To Avoid Throwing Away Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs generally taste infinitely better than their dull dried versions….but it’s SO hard to use up a whole bunch before it goes bad. As delicious as that fresh cilantro is, who really wants to eat cilantro flavored food for every single meal? Not us.
Here are some ninja ways to use up all your fresh herbs and avoid nasty feeling that happens when you have to clean out your fridge and throw away food.
1. Make herb-infused olive oil
Herb-infused olive oil… it sounds so fancy and gourmet. Like something you’d have to pay $40 for at some cute little boutique. Why not make it at home for free and use up the rest of those herbs?
There are so many flavor combinations and you can pair one of these infused oils with a great balsamic vinegar for a simple salad dressing that tastes to die for. Saving food and adding more variety to your pantry is a win-win. Here are some more detailed instructions on how to infuse your olive oil.
2. Make Herb Ice Cubes (perfect for everything from cocktails to soups)
Grab an ice cube tray and add around 2 spoonfuls of herbs into each slot. Then top off each slot with some water and freeze. These cubes can be used in many future recipes that require cooking herbs (soups, pan sauces, etc.).
You can also use these cubes to infuse more flavor and make any drink (even water) look more appealing. Think of the possibilities… toss some basil cubes in with strawberries and you have a delicious strawberry basil-infused water that’ll make you feel like your at the spa or some swanky hotel lobby. Swap the water with some gin and club soda and you’ve got a low calorie and delicious cocktail.
3. Sip Herb-Infused Water
Plain old water gets boring. Spice it up by adding fruits and herbs to your H2O. Fill up a big water bottle and enjoy all day at work! Here are some delectable flavor combinations:
- Rosemary + Blood Orange
- Mint + Strawberries
- Basil + Strawberries
- Cilantro + Pineapple + Jalepeno
- Basil + Lemon
- Sage + Blackberry
- Mint + Grapefruit
4. Make Herb Butter
Herbed butter is a great way to use up herbs while adding more flavor to a dish. Instead of just having a plain steak, have a steak topped with garlic herb butter! Smoked Paprika & Rosemary Butter, lemon herb butter, gorgonzola sage butter… the sky is the limit with flavored butters. Checkout some recipes here on how to make your own herbed butter.
5. Store Herbs *Properly* And Enjoy For 2 Weeks
Fresh herbs can last a heck of a lot longer than you might think they can. Just follow these best practices for each herb type to help them last as long as possible.
Treat Parsley And Cilantro Like Flowers
Put these herbs in glasses with water just like you would with a bouquet of flowers. Store them with these simple steps:
- Trim off the bottom of the stems.
- Make sure the herbs are completely dry before storing them. Rinse just before you need the herbs or it can cut it’s shelf life by half!
- Fill glass with enough water to submerge the stems of the herbs.
- Gently and loosely cover the herbs with a plastic bag.
- Store herbs in the fridge.
- Change out water every couple of days.
Store Herbs In Plastic Bags With Damp Paper Towels
Gently wrap these herbs listed below in a dampened paper towel and place in a plastic bag. Leave the plastic bag partially open instead of zipping it all the way up.
6. Easily Grow An Herb Garden At Home
It’s much easier and cost effective than you think to just have a little herb garden so you have a fresh supply to use when you need and not have to worry about herbs going bad. You can buy the herb plants at the grocery store and put them on your window sill or grow them from seeds. Here is a guide to growing your own little herb paradise.
7. Microwave The Herbs
You can skip the hang dry method and quickly save herbs you won’t be able to use up by microwaving them. This only works for the heartier herbs like rosemary, thyme and mint. You won’t want to try this with cilantro, parsley or basil.
Just grab a plate and two paper towels and sandwich the herbs you want to preserve between the paper towels. Microwave for 1-3 minutes then store in a ziplock bag and you just increased the size of your spice cabinet!