Ina Garten's Salad Spinner Trick For Long-Lasting Fresh Herbs

Bunch of fresh cilantro
Bunch of fresh cilantro - Noam Galai/Getty Images

As the weather warms up, it's the perfect time to fill your garden with tasty herbs, from oregano and basil to dill and mint. Whether you're making a quick salad or a rich pasta dinner, fresh herbs lend bright flavor and a pop of green color for an extra edge with minimal effort.

The only trouble is, when you're dealing with fresh herbs as opposed to dried herbs, you'll find that they start to lose their flavor and wilt if you don't store them properly. The good news is that there's a way to prevent, or at least delay, this from happening — just take a cue from Ina Garten.

The Food Network star shared on her Barefood Contessa FAQ page that she likes to wash her fresh herbs and dry them in a salad spinner. From there, she places them "in a plastic storage bag with a slightly damp paper towel," a trick that can help make your fresh herbs last for between two and three weeks.

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Why A Salad Spinner Beats Paper Towels For Drying Herbs

Herbs in a salad spinner
Herbs in a salad spinner - Dtk/Getty Images

Salad spinners are typically used for removing excess moisture from greens, such as lettuce and kale, after you've washed them. They consist of an inner basket with holes that allows the water to drain out and an outer basket that catches the liquid. Then, a lid with a handle is placed on the dish, and when you move the handle, it spins the herbs and uses centrifugal force to fling water off them, leaving them dry and clean.

Salad spinners are especially handy for cleaning and drying fresh herbs because, if exposed to too much moisture or oxygen, they tend to turn brown and wilt. The salad spinner helps dry off more water droplets than cloth or paper towels can, keeping your herbs bright and healthy. Plus, the salad spinner is a gentler way to handle the herbs when trying to remove dirt, bugs, and other impurities. If you don't have a salad spinner, there are a few simple alternatives you can use, such as adding your washed herbs to a clean pillowcase and swinging it around to spin off the water.

Other Tips To Keep In Mind When Storing Fresh Herbs

Person cutting fresh dill
Person cutting fresh dill - Andrey Znamenskyi/Getty Images

Using a salad spinner isn't the only step you'll want to take before storing fresh herbs. Once you've dried them off, you'll want to wrap them properly to keep them from turning brown. This process varies depending on whether you're dealing with hard or soft herbs.

Hard herbs have sturdy, woody stems and firmer leaves. To store these herbs, you can follow Ina Garten's advice and lay them out on a damp paper towel. Make sure they're in a single layer, then roll them up and place them in a plastic bag. If you don't have one, you can always use some plastic wrap instead. Then, pop them in the fridge, and they're good to go.

With soft herbs, things look a little different. Before storing these, you'll want to trim off the bottom part of their stems. From there, pop them in a glass of water, making sure no leaves are submerged, and place a plastic bag over the top. Then, once again, keep them in the fridge. With these tricks, you're ready to keep any type of herb from wilting before you get a chance to use it!

Read the original article on Daily Meal.