Like oysters and princes, herbs are nearly always at their best when they’re fresh. But we’ve all been there: you buy a bunch of parsley from the supermarket for those two tablespoons of garnish that you need, a week goes by, and you suddenly find yourself with a whole lot of fresh parsley that’s on its way out. What do you do? The best option is to just find a recipe that uses it, of course. You might also consider blanching and freezing it in ice cube trays.
Or you might want to dry it. Drying herbs will greatly extend their shelf life by removing any moisture that bacteria could use to survive. The downside is that it also robs fresh herbs of flavor, aroma, color, and texture. But there are ways to mitigate this loss. Your best option? The microwave. Yes, really. It’s a trick I picked up from Daniel in his holiday story about spiced nuts.
Compared to other drying methods—like hanging or using a low oven—the microwave produces the most potent dried herbs with the freshest flavor and the brightest color.