Herbs need to be handled with care in order to keep them bright, fresh and fragrant. They also need to be handled with extra special care to ensure proper kashrus. For the kashrus part, check with your local rabbi about washing and checking each variety. For the fresh and fragrant part, I’m here to help you. Just follow these simple tips and you will have fabulous flavors to use in so many recipes!
Washing: Wash herbs in cool water, swishing them gently to release the dirt and grit. Use some kind of soap, vinegar or whatever your Rabbi recommends to take care of bug issues. Lift the herbs from the dirty water so that you do not pour the released grit back on the herbs. Rinse them again with cool water. Dry herbs with a salad spinner. Do not squeeze them. Check them thoroughly for bugs.
Storing: Wrap washed and dried (it’s important they are stored dry) herbs loosely in a damp paper towel and refrigerate in a heavy-duty zip-lock storage bag or plastic container, left slightly open for air to get in. Most herbs will last about 4 – 5 days in the fridge, longer for stronger herbs like thyme and rosemary. Basil is best stored at cool room temperature, with its stems submerge in a glass of water.
Chopping: Chops herbs using a very sharp knife (a dull one will mash and bruise them). Strip the leaves from the stems, using a slice-down-the-stem motion. Pile the herbs on a cutting board. Lift and lower the knife to chop through the herbs, pivoting the blade across the pile as you chop, stopping to gather the herbs back into a pile as you go.
Use fresh herbs in salads, dips, to finish chicken and meat dishes. Or try basil in these recipes, or cilantro in these dishes. Like rosemary? Try these recipes with fresh rosemary, or use thyme in these choices, and I like these recipes with fresh chives.