When buying fresh herbs, look for bright-green leaves with no brown or black spots. To store, trim stems, wrap herbs in a damp paper towel, and keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Clean herbs just before using by rinsing in a bowl of cool water and gently shaking or patting dry. When chopping herbs, make sure to use a sharp knife to avoid bruising them.
Here are some easy and delicious ways to use fresh herbs.
BASIL: With kitchen shears, cut leaves into fresh tomato sauce just before serving. Sprinkle leaves on pizza or fresh berries.
CILANTRO: Sprinkle leaves on fish tacos or tortilla soup. Add to Asian stir-fries.
PARSLEY: Make a persillade by combining finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and minced garlic; toss with roasted potatoes, or sprinkle over chicken soup.
ROSEMARY: Skewer sea scallops with whole rosemary branches; then grill.
TARRAGON: Add to homemade chicken salad, or toss with sautéed mushrooms.
THYME: Strip leaves from stalks, and sprinkle over vegetables or chicken when roasting.
Preserve Leftover Fresh Herbs
Don’t let herbs go to waste: Freeze them in ice-cube trays with olive oil. Simply chop up your herbs (pull leaves off any stems first)—try chives, thyme, oregano or rosemary, or make mixtures. Fill each tray cubby about half full with herbs; then pour olive oil over the herbs. Stick tray in freezer. The olive oil will thicken and turn a creamy, waxy white. That’s OK. When cubes are solid, pop them out and store in a freezer-safe container or ziptop freezer bag. When you’re ready to use them, they can go from the freezer to the frying pan. Or thaw a few out for a salad dressing or dipping.