how to revive wilted herbs

how to revive wilted herbs | The Clever Carrot

I have a horrible habit.

Whenever I buy herbs, I just rip off whatever I need and throw it back in the fridge. I should be taking the time to store them properly, but I just don’t for some reason. And this is coming from the girl who can’t stand waste! I will however, remember to regularly feed my sourdough starter (because that’s normal).

Then of course, everything wilts…

how to revive wilted herbs | The Clever Carrot

But luckily, there’s a really easy way to fix this.

Take your herbs (I’m using parsley) and cut off the stems. Remove and discard any bruised or damaged leaves. Make an ice bath for the leaves to soak.

Submerge.

how to revive wilted herbs | The Clever Carrothow to revive wilted herbs | The Clever Carrot

The cold water will shock the herbs back to life.

The amount of soaking time will vary, but you can usually tell when they’re ready. The herbs will gradually float to the top and look bright green and refreshed. It’s actually fun to watch them ‘grow.’ This particular bunch sat in there for about an hour which was probably longer then necessary, but I got distracted and forgot to check on them. Whatever you do, don’t let them soak for too long or else they will become water logged.

You can use this technique with other herbs such as basil, mint, chervil and cilantro.

how to revive wilted herbs | The Clever Carrot

Cool trick, right?

It’s nice to have something like this up your sleeve when you are a bit lax about your herbs. I also like the fact that most of the work is ‘hands off’ leaving you free to do other things while they soak. It will save you a couple of bucks in the long run too. Try it!

Tips:

  • Dry your picked herbs thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel or salad spinner (that’s what I do). Store them in an air-tight container lined with a paper towel on the top and bottom to absorb any extra moisture. You can also do this in a Ziploc bag. Use within a couple of days.
  • Basil can be a bit high maintenance to revive & store- if it’s exposed to cold water for too long, the leaves will turn black. My recommendation is to shock them (not soak) for 1-2 minutes, or just enough to perk them up. Pat dry and use right away. Washed basil does not keep very well. Get a plant ;)
how to revive wilted herbs
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of wilted herbs
  • ice cubes
  • water
* This technique can be used with basil, mint, chervil and cilantro.
** Basil can be a bit high maintenance to revive & store- if it's exposed to cold water for too long, the leaves will turn black. Shock the leaves (not soak) for about 1-2 minutes, or just enough to perk them up. Pat dry and use right away. Washed basil does not keep very well. Get a plant ;)
Instructions
  1. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with cold water and ice.
  2. For the herbs, cut off the stems and remove any bruised, dry or damaged leaves.
  3. Submerge the picked herbs into the ice bath.
  4. Soak for about 15-30 minutes, or until they perk up and look refreshed.
  5. Drain the herbs in a colander.
  6. Dry thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel or salad spinner.
  7. To store, place the herbs in an air-tight container lined with a paper towel on the top and bottom to absorb any extra moisture. You can also do this in a Ziploc bag. Use within a couple of days.

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Comments

  1. says

    I love it Emilie!! And I’m quite certain you are not the only one with this occasional habit (cough, cough) so I appreciate your honesty too. An ice bath it is.

    p.s. Instead of ‘horrible habit’ let’s just call it ‘busy mom syndrome’ :)

    • Emilie says

      Hi Kelly! Ah, yes… I love how you re-phrase it (I will forever have baby brain too!) Sounds much, much better ;) xx

    • Emilie says

      Hi Felicia! I know what you mean- I’ve stored them in a cup of water as well, both in the fridge and out on the counter and you never know what’s going to happen! I’ve heard that putting a plastic ziploc over the cup of herbs helps too. It’s like creating a mini green house. :)

  2. says

    You are my angel Emilie. I am so guilty of exactly what you’ve described. In fact I’m certain my parsley and cilantro are less than perky right now. They in for a real treat!! Can’t wait to share this tip.

    • Emilie says

      Aww, thanks Libby :) I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this! I long for summer days where I can just wander out to my herb pots and pick whatever I need and be done with it. But now that I know how to fix this problem, I’m even more lazy- go figure! Oh well…

    • Emilie says

      Thanks Laura! What’s up with basil anyways? It turns black if it’s too cold, and bruises in the blender! Such a pain but it’s so good. Plants are definitely the way to go- I love just picking off a couple of springs for my recipes. I can’t wait until summer! xx

    • Emilie says

      Welcome Alanna! You’re right- it’s is like magic. It saves you an extra trip to the store too (always a plus). Thanks for stopping by! ;)

  3. Pam Green @MyNewlywedCookingAdventures says

    I never knew this tip! I have the same recurring issue of not properly storing my herbs when I get home from the store. This will be immensely helpful.

  4. says

    This happens to me far too often, despite my best intentions to look after them. Must remember to use this trick – it’s what I do with salad leaves to I don’t know why I never figured to do it with herbs too.

  5. says

    This is a seriously useful post, I am terrible at storing herbs. Even worse at growing them… if you have any tips to revive coriander (in the ground!) I would love them. I am struggling to keep my third coriander plant alive. Sad face.

  6. says

    Perfect advice! I also did the same thing with my carrots over the summer, and it revived them a little bit, as well. Thanks! :-)

    • Emilie says

      Hi Jayme Marie! That’s a great tip as well… I didn’t know that you could revive carrots that way. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Diane Dorothy says

    Basil battles, ongoing! I was so excited to find your post because I have had such good luck crisping up tired green leaf lettuce and other salad greens, as long as I spun them off afterward and stored them in a false-bottom pan for good drainage. After a few hours of storage in the refrigerator, they look better than when they were delivered! So, I tried the same technique this week with basil, because the basil at work seemed to turn black and limp in only a few short days. But this technique did not work with basil. What makes basil so different from salad greens? Even after spinning off and storing the same way, they went black almost faster than the dry basil in the plastic bags as delivered from the distributor. I will follow up with additional research. Some great news, though: I tried a different storage method upon bringing home basil packaged in those grocery store clamshells: I used the Ball (canning brand) Fresh Herb Keeper as directed: Five days later after stored in refrigeration, they still looked great! It works similarly to what you and readers have described above if you were to put the herb stems and/or roots only into some water in a cup, then covered over the top with a zip lock bag. The Ball Fresh Herb Keeper (Culinary Herb Series) just does this in a convenient format and can store quite a few herbs at once! I’ll let you know what makes basil so different from using the ice bath refresher technique with salad greens if I learn something useful. I will try the 2-minute ice water shock, followed by immediate use next time I do basil battle.

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