Critics' Pick

The Best Herb Keepers to Make Your Cilantro, Parsley, and Thyme Last Longer

updated Mar 5, 2021
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parsley in a mason jar filled with a few inches of water
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Buying fresh herbs that go bad before you can finish using them is one of the greatest ways to waste money at the grocery store. Of course, no one is actually looking for ways to waste money, so we all want our fresh herbs to last as long as possible. Which brings us to this edition of Critics’ Picks. We looked to see what other experts and satisfied shoppers had to recommend — and then, in true Kitchn fashion, we weighed in with our own two cents.

Cole & Mason Fresh Herb Keeper

The Best Herb Keeper, According to Cook’s Illustrated

The folks at Cook’s Illustrated set up a few tests. They tried each herb keeper with cilantro (a tender herb) and thyme (a hardy herb) — both in the fridge — and basil on the counter. For a control, they also stored basil cuttings on the counter in a glass Mason jar with water, and they wrapped bunches of cilantro and thyme in damp paper towels and stored each separately in a zipper-lock bag. The basil in the keepers didn’t do that great, but the refrigerated herbs in the Cole & Mason keeper lasted just as long as the towel-and-bag method.

In addition to being able to keep herbs fresh, the testers liked that this keeper made it easy to add and remove herbs and that it could be adjusted to accommodate tall stems without any cramming or bending. They also liked the unique vented lid, which prevented condensation from building up, and the removable dividers that made space for more than one type of herb at any given time.

Quart-Size Deli Containers

The Best Herb Keepers, According to Serious Eats

Serious Eats recommends storing herbs in quart-size deli containers. Here’s their method: Place about an inch of water in the bottom of a deli container, add your herbs (stems down!), and then gently fold the leaves over so that you can put the lid on the container. They say herbs will keep for weeks this way!

Progressive International ProKeeper Herb Keeper

The Best-Selling Herb Keeper on Amazon

This super-popular herb keeper has a little basket (the gray part on the bottom) that raises and lowers as you open or close the lid. This design allows herbs to drink water without drowning and it makes it easy to access herbs when you need them. There’s also a draining port, should you want to change out the water.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Kitchn’s Thoughts on the Best Herb Keeper

Perhaps you read our recent story, in which we tried five methods for storing fresh herbs? And perhaps you remember that we had a clear winner? If you missed it, or just need a refresher, we found that the best way to store fresh herbs is with a a damp paper towel and a zip-top bag. “After a week in the fridge the parsley looked just as fresh as it did when I first bought it,” our tester reported. We stand by this method.

But. But! If you’re looking to use fewer paper towels or cut back on plastic baggies in the kitchen, we recommend the Cole & Mason Fresh Herb Keeper. While it is, indeed, made of plastic, it can be used again and again (versus a zip-top baggie, which can be reused, but will eventually need to be swapped out). If you buy herbs regularly or are looking for something more permanent, we really do support the Cole & Mason Fresh Herb Keeper. We love that it has a window to see your water level, the adjustable top that makes inserting and accesses herbs oh-so-easy, the three removable dividers, and the vented lid. Oh, and of course the fact that it really does work. In our tests, we’ve also found that it works just as well as the towel-and-bag method — only it’s a much more reusable option.

How do you store your fresh herbs?