To start on a low note, dried basil has to be about the saddest ingredient you can add to a dish. I can fill a room with the scent of basil from just one or two stems, while I can fully inhale a nose-full from a jar of dried basil and wonder what it even is.
I recently read (and highly recommend )The Body by Bill Bryson. He talks about a million interesting things, one of which is the important distinction between flavor and taste. Pardon, he’s British, so flavour with an extra vowel for embellishment. Anyhoo, he eloquently shares:
“What we appreciate when we eat is flavour, which is taste plus smell.
Smell is said to account for at least 70 per cent of flavour and maybe even as much as 90 per cent. “
I mention all this to emphasize how important fresh herbs are to the joy of eating; you just can’t beat the flavor of fresh herbs! So grow your own and if you can’t do that, make sure you have a farmer nearby to serve the herbs up fresh once a week, at the very least.
And once you have those fresh herbs around being all aromatic, you may as well store them in their ideal style. Here’s a short list of the top herbs we have growing at Enka:ri Farm, and the best way to keep them fresh.
The Top Two Methods:
Jar method: Store in a jar with about an inch of water on the counter.
Refrigerator: Wrap in a damp paper towel, store in plastic (wrap or container) in the refrigerator
The Herbs & How to Store Them
Refresh water as needed. Leave it long enough and it will likely sprout roots!
Chives: Wrap in plastic wrap or place in a resealable bag, refrigerate (no damp paper towel).
Cilantro: Refrigerator is best; Jar also works
Dill: Refrigerator is best; Jar also works
Mint: Jar or Refrigerator
Parsley: Refrigerator is best; Jar also works
Thyme: Jar works; preferably Refrigerator
While the refrigerator method is considered best for many of these, I find that keeping some fresh herbs in a countertop jar encourages me to use them more quickly and frequently; they’re also beautiful to see.