How to Buy and Store Herbs

Follow this guide to keep basil, parsley, cilantro and other herbs fresh and flavorful.

March 17, 2020

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How to Buy and Store Herbs
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Learn how to buy fresh herbs and keep them that way.

Leafy Herbs (Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Mint, Dill, Chives, Tarragon)


At the market, look for perky bunches and avoid any brown, bruised or yellow leaves. When it comes to basil, get the most out of it by buying a bunch that still has roots attached.


For basil, trim basil roots, put them in a glass of water, cover it loosely with a plastic bag and store it at room temperature – instant greenhouse! For all others, including cilantro, parsley and mint, remove the rubber band holding the bunch together. The rubber band causes the stems to break down, which leads to quicker decay. From there, wrap loosely in damp paper towels and store in the fridge in a resealable bag.Use them within one week (depending on the type and freshness of the bunch).

Woody Herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Sage, Lavender)


Look for healthy-looking sprigs with leaves firmly attached. Avoid bunches that are black or moldy.


Woody herbs will last a couple of weeks stored in a damp paper towel in a resealable plastic bag.

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

Add Flavor to Your Meal

No matter which herbs you're dealing with, clean them in a large bowl of water before you use them.


Photo by: David Malosh

David Malosh

You can quickly dry them by pumping big bunches in a salad spinner. With fresh herbs at your fingertips, you can brighten up any meal – get started with some inspiring ideas below.

Lemon-Herb Shrimp Packets

Parsley and basil infuse the olive oil as the shrimp bakes. Have frozen shrimp on hand? Feel free to use that for convenience.

Food Network Kitchen’s Chicken with a Lemon Herb Sauce for How to boil water  as seen on Food Network's Healthy Helpings


Food Network Kitchen’s Chicken with a Lemon Herb Sauce for How to boil water as seen on Food Network's Healthy Helpings

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Chicken with a Lemon Herb Sauce

Blend up parsley, mint and lemon into a bright sauce perfect for dressing up chicken breast.

Parsnip Soup with Coriander and Parsley

Pro tip: add an extra layer of flavor and eye-catching color to creamy soups by sprinkling on a handful of fresh herbs.

Week Night meal on a white plate

Spring Herb Salad_003.tif

Week Night meal on a white plate

©Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Food stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Herb Salad

Herbs aren't just for garnishing; treat them like lettuce and mix them into your next salad to take your greens to the next level.

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

Roasted Carrots with Herbs

A short and simple ingredient list let's the woody and fresh herbs shine.

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