Farmer’s Market Saturday: Storing Fresh Herbs

Herbs in a vase are fragrant and fresh all week long.

I love, love, love summer Saturdays at my local Farmer’s Market. I am lucky to live within 15 minutes of a bunch of markets; but my favorite is the Blackwood Farmers Market in downtown Blackwood, NJ. It is a great little market, run by a local volunteer committee of sweet, produce-loving volunteers.

One of my favorite finds every Saturday: fresh herbs. I have a spattering of herbs in my home garden; but I certainly don’t have everything. The basil from the market is always so lush and fragrant and I simply cannot ever resist picking up a bunch.  Today I snagged  giant bouquets of basil, cilantro and dill (for pickle making tomorrow). The herbs were cheap ($2 a bunch or less), locally grown and just picked.

If you store fresh herbs the wrong way–they can go bad within a day. Basil, in particular, does not like the cold, so never, ever refrigerate it (the leaves go black quickly). And who wants black basil leaves?

Here’s my simple trick for keeping herbs fresh all week-long: treat your herbs like flowers. Grab a vase or pitcher, fill with fresh, clean cold water, a handful of ice cubes and pop your herbs in the container.

Not only is an herb bouquet gorgeous and fragrant–it lasts forever (like a week or more!). I change the water  every other day and snip bits of herbs whenever I need it.  Whatever is left when the week ends, I pop in the food processor with a little olive oil and pine nuts for a quick pesto!