How to Store Parsley, Cilantro, and Other Fresh Herbs

How ToBasilCilantroParsley

Have you ever had trouble keeping fresh herbs fresh? This super easy trick keeps fresh herbs useable for a couple of weeks.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Have you ever had trouble keeping fresh herbs fresh? Do your cilantro and parsley go wilty, limpy, or dry after a few days? Several years ago my mother taught me this super easy trick, which really works, and keeps fresh herbs fresh and useable for up to a couple of weeks. The trick involves the clever use of a plastic bag.

Now, I don’t know why this works. It just does.

how to store parsley and fresh herbs

How to Store Parsley, Cilantro, and Other Fresh Herbs



1 Snip off the bottom of the stems.

2 Make sure the leaves are completely dry. Better to hold off rinsing them until you're about to use them.

3 Fill a jar or a water glass partially with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water in the jar.

4 If you are storing the herbs in the refrigerator, cover loosely with a plastic bag. Cilantro loves cool temperatures and should be stored in the refrigerator. Parsley can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. According to Harold McGee, basil is ideally stored at room temperature and not in the refrigerator, because it is susceptible to damage from cold.

5 Change the water after several days if the water starts to discolor.

Fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, and other fresh herbs can last up to 2 weeks or longer when stored this way.

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Showing 4 of 83 Comments / Reviews

  • Brita

    Great advice, thanks.
    A couple of years ago, I remembered my biology lessons – plants thrive on carbon dioxide. So nowadays, when I store any green leaves, I breathe into the plastic bag, and they stay fresh for even longer. However, be sure to wash them before using, especially when feeding other people!

  • Joedi

    @Mariana you really made me laugh today. Poor old basil could not be resuscitated. I’m going to try it and see though

  • Mariana

    Well… Sorry to say,but Harold McGee is WRONG.

    I left my basil like that one hour out of the fridge and when I came back, it was all black and dead. It started being green and fresh… so one hour out of the fridge and it died a terrible death, it was all disfigured and it took a while to recognize it….

    Parsley was the same, I did hurry to cover them loosely with a plastic bag and put them in the fridge, this morning, parsley had resuscitated, but poor basil was really done for.

  • James

    The best way to store herbs is to wrap them in a wet paper towel and put them in a plastic bag in your fridge. My rosemary, thyme, and parsley lasted for a month and was still fresh. I recommend this method.

  • Elle

    I think it is ridiculous to try to keep a $.50 bunch of parsley and or cilantro fresh for weeks or months (price at my local Hispanic grocery, and super fresh because they go through them so fast). I just wrap them loosely in a paper towel, put in an open plastic bag, and buy a new batch every week. They lose their aroma and start to smell like grass pretty quickly, no matter how you try to store them, once cut from the plant. For 50 cents a bunch, it’s just too much trouble to try to keep them.

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how to store parsley and fresh herbsHow to Store Parsley, Cilantro, and Other Fresh Herbs