Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Keeping store-bought herbs longer

I recently went to a "farmer's market" store (also billed as a 99-cent produce store) which had some great deals on produce.  Unfortunately, though the deals were tempered by the fact that the produce wasn't in the best of shape.

One of the items that enticed me was a very large bunch of basil, priced at $1.49.  Stores in my area might sell such a bunch for twice that price, if at all.  But on a bad note, the bunches were pretty wilted.  I bought one anyway.  To the right is what it looked like in the bag... pretty bad, no?

But I was able to get it back to somewhat good health.  The first thing I did was chop off the ends of all the stems.  I put them in a glass of water and let it soak up water through the stems.  That helped about half of the stems.  Here's the after picture for those that worked:

Much better!  Ideally, you'd find basil that still has the roots attached, which would definitely help in the absorption of water.  These didn't, but it still worked pretty well.

For the stems that didn't respond, I laid them in a bowl with some room-temperature water (not hot or cold) and let them soak up water directly into the leaves.  This worked okay enough to be used again. 

If you'd like to store herbs longer in the refrigerator, I've read that you can store them between sheets of moistened paper towels in plastic bags.  Or you can freeze herbs that you will be cooking with later.  If you're planning to make pesto from your herbs, it freezes well.  (If you find cilantro, try my cilantro pesto.)

So if you come across a great sale on herbs, but they're wilted, you can bring them back to usefulness again!

For more frugal tips, please check out the bloggers listed on the left sidebar under Frugal Tips Linkups. There are lots of great ideas on each blog and I'm sure you'll find lots of wonderful tips!
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michelle's 10 things March 24, 2011 at 12:10 AM  

Thank you for your ideas. I bought some fresh, wonderful basil with roots a week ago. I did what I always do, and it was dying within 1 day. I will try freezing it. I am here from The Thrifty Home.

Carol@easytobeglutenfree March 24, 2011 at 1:34 PM  

I always wrap fresh herbs in a moist paper towel and put them in a plastic bag. It works really well.

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