The leaves are turning on the trees here, signaling the end of summer and the return of brisk nights and even shorter days, as if school starting and the Halloween and Christmas decorations in stores weren’t enough. Yes. Christmas decorations. Keep your pants on, Mr. Retail Giant.
The return of cold nights also means my herb gardens are in their final moments and will soon be ready for their final harvest, if I haven’t done so already. It means that fresh herbs will come from the store, bundled with twist-ties and in a thin plastic bag. They’ll be tossed in the fridge as I unload and organize the rest of my groceries, and then when I go to grab the bundled cilantro for burritos, the parsley for chicken piccata, the basil for Mediterranean pasta it will be wilted and slimy, and I’ll be forced to either pick out the salvageable leaves or toss the whole thing and reconsider the evening menu….or will it?
Meet my herb keeper. Sure, you could buy one, and there are plenty of models out there available from Progressive to Cuisipro to Pampered Chef; I just haven’t made that investment. It’s on the list of “things I’d like to purchase or replace when…” and that “when” doesn’t happen to be right this minute. But keeping herbs fresh longer means less waste and that I’ll spend less money constantly buying them to replace the wilted ones. So, I improvise with a glass and about 1/4 inch of water. If you are worried about your herbs soaking up other smells or losing their fragrance while in the fridge out in the open, simply slip the top of the plastic bag you brought them home in over the top loosely and tuck under the glass.
That’s all you need for keeping store-bought herbs fresh all winter long and keep your menu exciting and flavorful, just as if they were growing out your back door.