Cleaning and storing herbs

If I don’t wash and store herbs when I first bring them home, I usually end up throwing more than half of them away.  Dirt and decayed leaves make tender herbs spoil more quickly, so the best time to clean them are the day you bring them home.
 
Woody stemmed herbs like sage and rosemary can be kept unwashed until ready to use, but you may want to loosen the rubber band to prevent decay.
washing herbs
courtesy of cerines.com
Begin by filling a large bowl with cold water.  Grasp the rubber band or twist-tie and, keeping it on the stem, push it down toward the base slightly to reveal any wilted leaves or trapped dirt.  Grabbing the base below the rubber band, swish and plunge the entire head of herbs in the water as trapped dirt and dead leaves dislodge.  Change the water if you need to, and then shake greens out to drain.  Roll and lightly pat the leaves in a paper towel to extract any excess water.  If you are using some of your herbs right after washing, rather than pulling a part of the bunch out and chopping entire length of herbs, chop the desired amount for your recipe off the end of the whole bunch, which prevents the tops from wilting as moisture leaves the stalks.  Once the band is removed and the stems cut off, clean herbs can be stored this way for 3-6 days in an airtight container.    Very tender herbs like cilantro should not be chopped until needed but heartier herbs like sage, rosemary, and thyme, or even parsley and mint can be chopped or picked a few days before needed. Basil is very tender and should not be picked or even looked at the wrong way until you are actually sitting down to dinner.
 mango salsa
So to get off on a tangent, I was having trouble capturing a picture of the cilantro swishing I did earlier this week so my google search led me to the image above….which led me to this most beautiful of websites featuring Cerine’s, a restaurant, cooking school, and slow food and lifestyle community on the island of Cyprus.  And after I spent an hour looking at every beautiful link on their site, wow did it make me want to go to Cyprus.  Oh, so much beauty. So many gorgeous photographs.  So much amazing food.  The site loads slowly because of all of the images (or maybe its a Cyprus/US thing?) but it is worth the wait.
Oh, you can’t get your child to eat their veggies?  No problem, steam and put them on tiny skewers!  Hello genius idea!
courtesy of cerines.com
courtesy of cerines.com
Strawberry season is here.  Want to know how to choose the best ones at the market?  They’ve got a guide!  Delicious!
courtesy of cerines.com
courtesy of cerines.com

Speaking of guides, they also have guide with 15 essentials for Brunch.  Apparently Europeans have begun to embrace the Brunch culture we’ve come to love in the US, which has always felt very European to me anyway.

guide to brunch

All photos in this post courtesy of Cerines.com
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