You take a long, loving glance at a bunch of those fresh, tender green leaves that seem to look back at you. As you approach the aisle that reads “Greens”, the affection seems to grow stronger. You’re happily day-dreaming about adding those finely chopped coriander leaves to your curry, or a gentle sprig placed with utmost care to another dish.
And then, reality kicks in. You realise that leaves tend to wilt in the fridge and lose their freshness. So, how do you keep your herbs alive and fresh?
The story actually begins before you come across herbs in your supermarkets. It’s hard to guess how long it has been since they were picked and cut before you see them. Also, different herbs require different maintenance conditions.
Parsley, for instance stays fresh and usable for longer, with more water and less sunlight. Put parsley stems into a bowl, cover it with a plastic bag, and store it in your refrigerator. As and when the water turns murky, discard it, and fill the bowl with fresh water. Gill Meller, a food writer, prefers drying, blanching and creating a puree from parsley that is left to freeze in ice cubes trays. These ice cubes are then turned into delicious soups. “It’s one of the most fantastic soups you could hope to eat with poached haddock or a poached egg,” says Meller.
Coriander, on the other hand, is better stored in a dry plastic bag that can go into your refrigerator. Refrigerators tend to take away the moisture present in fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. But a seal bag protects your coriander from turning dry.
The best option, however, is to go for a live plant. Place the plant pot on a saucer of water as soon as you get it. The plant has not received water from the time it’s been plucked, so it’s essential to restore that. Make sure it doesn’t get exposed directly to the sun. Also, avoid taking sprigs from new shoots that are blooming. You can also grow your own coriander. August end is the ideal time, because the temperatures are low and it’s not extensively sunny. So throw in a few coriander seeds and get your gardening game on!...