How to Buy and Store Herbs: A Step-by-Step Guide

Follow this guide to learn how to buy and keep herbs fresh and flavorful, then watch our how-to video.

Learn how to buy fresh herbs and keep them that way.

Step 1: Buying Basil
At the market, look for perky bunches and avoid any brown, bruised or yellow leaves. To get the most out of basil, buy a bunch that still has its roots attached and trim them when you get home. Put them in a glass of water.

Step 2: Cover the Basil
Cover loosely with a plastic bag and keep at room temperature — instant greenhouse! Tip: Basil is delicate; use within a day or two.

Step 3: Leafy Herbs
Some leafy herbs, like cilantro, parsley and tarragon, come bunched together with a rubber band.

Step 4: Wrap Loosely
Remove the band, then wrap the herbs loosely in a damp paper towel.

Step 5: Store Your Herbs
Store sealed in a resealable bag. Tip: Use softer herbs, like cilantro, within 2 to 3 days.

Step 6: Woody Herbs
Woody herbs, like rosemary and thyme, will last a couple of weeks stored the same way in a damp paper towel.

Step 7: Buy Healthy-Looking Sprigs
Look for healthy-looking sprigs with leaves firmly attached. Like the other herbs, avoid bunches that are black or moldy. No matter which herbs you're dealing with, clean them in a large bowl of water before you use them.

Step 8: Add Flavor to Your Meal
With fresh herbs at your fingertips, you can brighten up any meal. Watch our how-to video for more.