What is meant by aromatic herbs? All those herbs with an "aroma" created by the presence of some essential oils in the stem and leaves are aromatic.
The aroma has the dual function of protecting from herbivorous insects and attracting pollinating insects, so as to make the plant play a key role in the ecosystem in which it lives.
Aromatic herbs are commonly used in various fields such as medicine and cosmetics, but their use is mainly in the food sector where basil and parsley are undoubtedly the most used together with sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, marjoram and others.
In the kitchen, therefore, aromatic herbs are indispensable ingredients as they enhance and harmonize any dish, giving it a unique flavor.
They bring multiple benefits to our health and also, being natural flavorings, they allow us to limit the amount of salt to add during the preparation of dishes.
Where to store fresh aromatic herbs
To fully benefit from all the properties of aromatic herbs, it is preferable to consume them fresh rather than dried so that nothing is lost.
Fresh herbs, however, do not remain so for long, especially in the pantry at room temperature, so it is always advisable to store them in the refrigerator or freeze them and use them as needed.
How to prepare fresh herbs for storage
The worst thing we can do is keep the fresh herbs in a plastic bag or leave the one from the greengrocer; in this way our herbs will rot in no time.
To keep them longer both in the fridge and in the freezer, it is good to pay them a little attention and prepare them so that they can keep their freshness.
First you need to select them by removing all the ruined or half-rotted leaves.
Afterwards it is necessary to wash the herbs under running water, drain them a little in order to eliminate excess water and place them well spaced on a clean and dry cotton kitchen towel.
With the help of kitchen paper, dry the fresh aromatic herbs as much as possible and leave them in the air for about ten minutes in order to evaporate any residual water on the leaves.
How to store aromatic herbs in the refrigerator
In the fridge it is advisable to use glass jars (with lids or hermetically sealed) or even plastic bags but, in this case, with some precautions.
To keep the herbs longer we must take into account that being fresh they transmit humidity. It is therefore necessary to wrap the herbs in paper which, managing to retain this humidity, prevents them from rotting earlier.
For the glass jars, we place inside a sheet of absorbent kitchen paper on which we are going to place the fresh leaves such as basil or parsley.
For herbs with longer twigs such as sage or rosemary, instead of glass jars we can use dry and clean plastic bags, but with the precaution of wrapping the herbs first in absorbent paper or, better yet, in paper for food (such as that of bread).
It is also good to periodically check if the paper in which our fresh herbs are rolled is damp, in this case it should be replaced.
Also for the purpose of a longer life of fresh aromatic herbs, it must be considered that they are very sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, so it is important not to keep them out of the fridge, for example, while cooking, but to take only the necessary quantity and immediately store the rest in a cool place.
How to store aromatic herbs in the freezer
Freezing fresh herbs can be a good solution if you don't plan on consuming them soon. Before freezing them, the ideal would be to divide them into portions so as to thaw only the amount you need when you need it.
There are various methods of freezing fresh aromatic herbs; you can use glass jars, normal plastic food bags or even ice containers in which to chop the herbs before placing them in the freezer.