How to buy and storing fresh herbs yourself sometimes it may not be practical to raise fresh herb plants from seed yourself, so buy the plants from a reputable garden center or nursery. Similarly, some fresh herbs grow better in a different climate, or you may require them out of season, so buying fresh or dried versions of a herb is a better option than attempting to grow them yourself.
Pick a perfect plant
Do not purchase plants with any apparent issues or diseases, such as leaves with yellow veins or mildew; all fresh herbs need to have bright, sturdy stems and foliage. Knock the plant out of its pot and take a look at the roots too they need to be healthful and considerable and not struggle for space. Check every plant for any live insects, because you don’t want to bring any plant with a viable problem home with you.
Spot check plants Before buying, take a look over of every plant you pick from the leaves, stems, and roots.
- Plants should have sturdy stems.
- Leaves should have good, healthy color.
- Check the roots for pest damage and to see if they are pot bound. The soil has to be moist and free of weeds.
The plant’s leaves and stems may look strong, healthy, and full of strength, that does not always mean the plant doesn’t have any disease and insect, how to buy fresh herb sometimes the problems lie below the surface of the soil. The roots is which give life to a plant, so it is very important that they are always healthy.
- Healthy plants should always be lifted easily out of its pot and its roots should be looking plentiful, but not overcrowded, and have plenty of soil visible.
- If you have a less than a healthy plant, pull out and thin the overcrowded roots before planting it out in good soil. Remove any root weevils and grubs.
Storing fresh herbs
It’s worth buying fresh herbs or cut herbs if a herb proves tricky to grow, you don’t live in an ideal growing climate, the growing season for a herb is over, or you need a larger amount of a herb than you already have growing in your garden. Most supermarkets now sell a range of fresh herbs in their fresh fruit and vegetable section, or you may be able to get some herbs, such as parsley, thymes or watercress. from a farmer’s market. Always buy fresh herbs, “juicy-looking” herbs, and, if possible, organically grown.
Delicate herbs such as tarragon, parsley, or mint keep well for a few days in a jug or a vase of fresh water if kept in a cool room. Many herbs, such as basil or marjoram, can be kept chilled while still on their stems, but first, rinse the fresh herbs, pat them dry with a paper towel, loosely wrap the stems in a piece of damp kitchen roll, and store in the fridge. Most herbs keep their properties well during freezing; chop the herbs finely, coat them in a little olive oil or water, then spoon the mixture into small freezer bags or an ice-cube tray (right) and keep frozen until needed for up to six months.
Preserving fresh herbs Cover finely chopped fresh herbs with a little water or oil in an ice-cube tray and freeze.
Most herbs keep their medicinal properties well if dried carefully. It also means they can be harvested at their peak time and stored to use when out of season. Traditionally, herbs are harvested in one season, for example, spring – then grown on for a full year until they are ready to harvest again. Most herbs remain effective for six to 12 months, after which time any remaining stock should be discarded and replaced.
Always dry herbs from organically grown plants only; it is not advisable to ingest concentrated pesticides or synthetic fertilizer residues in addition to the active properties of the herb. It is important that you purchase spices and herbs only from trusted brands that deliberately follow a strategy of minimal environmental impact by promoting organic cultivation and maintaining good harvesting by local peoples. These companies must also ensure that their herbs are new.
Suppliers should ensure that they sell the correct species and there is no infestation present. Store your bought dried herbs in an airtight preferably glass – container in a dry, dark cupboard to preserve their therapeutic properties.
Store dried herbs in airtight jars All dried herbs should be stored out of direct light and used within six to 12 months.