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

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Method

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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98 Comments / Reviews

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  • Bettina

    I’ve got what seems like a stupid question, but I’ve read most of these posts and it still remains: When I purchase these herbs from the grocery (and they are super expensive, yes), they last at least 2 weeks, sometimes more. I just put them in the fridge as is. And it’s true that I end up wasting some.

    But why would I want to go through the trouble to do this if I don’t get any extra time out of it? What am I missing here?

  • David

    We store basil in water and plastic at room temperature. It turns black in the refrigerator.

  • [email protected]

    Live in an apartment….. often get fresh cut herbs from friends but the cuttings are too short to put in water as you suggest, any ideas?

  • Mae

    This method is great my cilantro stayed fresh and smell the same as when I brought
    it.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Ann

    It’s great. Sometimes when I buy cilantro and put in the refrigerator the next it wilt. After reading your instructions, I will try this method. Thank you , Ann

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