How to Cook with Fresh Herbs

These highly perishable seasonings require a little extra TLC. Here are simple ways to do it.

Choosing Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs add spark and life to food, whether you grow them in your garden or pick them up from the market. Choose herbs that have fresh-looking leaves without brown spots. Fresh herbs don't last long, so buy (or pick) only as you need them.

Preparing Fresh Herbs


Stripping: Thoroughly rinse fresh herbs under cool water. Blot dry with paper towels or use a salad spinner. Remove tiny leaves of herbs from herbs such as thyme by holding onto the stem with one hand and stripping the leaves into a bowl using the other hand.

Snipping: To cut larger clean and dry fresh herbs, place leaves in a measuring cup or bowl and snip them with kitchen scissors, using short, quick strokes. For herbs with tough stems, such as rosemary, strip the leaves from the stem first.

Chiffonade: A chiffonade is a bunch of thin strips or shreds. To create a chiffonade of herbs, roll up larger leaves, such as basil, and cut across the roll.

Storing: To store fresh herbs, cut a 1/2 inch from the stems. Stand stem ends in a small jar with some water. Loosely cover leaves with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Don't refrigerate basil -- it may blacken. Discard wilted leaves as they appear.


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