Keeping the fresh in herbs

Tender perishables last longer if you act like a florist

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FOUR STEPS TO FRESHNESS

1. Untie herbs and immerse in cool water, shaking gently to dislodge any soil or insects. Discard decayed stalks and leaves. Snip off stems just above a break or a bruise. Gently shake excess water from leaves (don't use a lettuce spinner; it bruises leaves).

2. Place stems in a container of water (a vase or canning jar) that holds them snugly, leaves above the rim.

3. Cover leaves loosely with a plastic bag, such as a produce bag.

4. Refrigerate, changing water when it looks murky. Snip off any parts of stems that show signs of decay. If you're storing several jars, group them on a close-fitting rimmed tray to protect them from being knocked over.

How to keep tender herbs fresh

Prepare herbs as described above, then use this chart as a storage guide. Their quality when stored affects how well they keep.

HERB:  basil
STORAGE: countertop
DAYS: up to 31

HERB:  chervil
STORAGE: refrigerator
DAYS: up to 8

HERB:  chives
STORAGE: refrigerator
DAYS: up to 9

HERB:  cilantro
STORAGE: refrigerator
DAYS: up to 14

HERB:  dill
STORAGE: refrigerator
DAYS: up to 9

HERB: parsley
STORAGE: refrigerator
DAYS: up to 21

HERB: tarragon
STORAGE: refrigerator
DAYS: up to 17

HERB: watercress
STORAGE: refrigerator
DAYS: up to 8

More:  Plant a pot of pesto

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