In a message dated 10/17/01 1:08:32 PM, Ricky writes:
I recently bought your book, "Hooked on Raw". In some of the recipes, you use fresh herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, etc.) Once I buy these items, I might not use them again for awhile. What can I do to preserve these herbs? Please help me! Thanks.
Thanks for buying my book. I hope you are enjoying it!
Fresh herbs are very difficult to preserve in their fresh form, and fresh foods are best eaten as soon after harvesting as possible. However, there are a few things that you can do with them.
1) In the case of parsley and cilantro, you can add some to your vegetable juices.
2) You can chop them up and toss into salads. Combinations of herbs added to salads are very tasty, and in NYC they even sell fresh organic salad mixes that contain herb leaves.
3) You can either blend in or sprinkle on top of blender soups.
4) If you can, you might want to grow a selection of herbs and that way you can just snip off what you need – no waste. Herbs are very easy to grow, even on a window sill.
5) And of course, you can dehydrate them until very dry and then use them in that form.
I find that parsley and dill stay fresh in the refrigerator for almost a week, cilantro a little less than that (4-5 days), but basil only lasts 2 or 3 days. Oregano, maybe 4. Oregano is particularly good for dehydrating because it concentrates the flavor. You can sprinkle it on your raw pizzas.
How long herbs stay fresh also depends on how fresh they were when you purchased them. I like to use fresh herbs in many of the recipes because they enliven the flavor of the dish. There's no comparison between the flavors of dried and fresh herbs, particularly in the three herbs that you mentioned.
Hope this helps you a little.