You love fresh mint but it goes bad so fast. Learn different ways to store mint properly to keep it fresh longer for your favorite cocktails and dishes.

Free eBook


Sign up and get instant access to my free eBook. Learn the shelf life of 21 specific foods, the signs of spoiled foods, and how to store them properly to keep them fresh longer.

Ever since I learned how to successfully store a big bunch of fresh basil in my kitchen for three straight weeks, I have had no worries buying fresh herbs anymore, not because I become a herb expert all of sudden, but because I know there have to be ways to keep these special plants longer. I just need to find the best and practical way, try it out, and then share the results with you so that hopefully you can just guilt-freely grab your favorite fresh herbs in the grocery store.

Trust me, I know exactly how you feel when you can’t use up fresh herbs quickly enough and have to dump them into your trash can… So Let’s try to prevent it from happening again.

Here is a collection of tips about how to handle fresh herbs in your kitchen in order to get the most out of them in different ways. The resource comes from a few old cookbooks and the internet – the greatest place to learn. I have tried some of the tips with absolute satisfaction. The rest is what I personally think would be useful. Therefore, I just summed up everything below for your reference (and mine too)! 🙂 Feel free to add more.

Let’s start with mint.

How To Preserve Fresh Mint

This bunch of fresh mint has been staying in this fantastic status for 10 days as of September 17, 2013 when I took this photo. (Got it on September 8 according to my grocery shopping record.) I am confident that it’s going to last for at least another week before I finish it.

Free eBook


Sign up and get instant access to my free eBook. Learn the shelf life of 21 specific foods, the signs of spoiled foods, and how to store them properly to keep them fresh longer.

Method #1 Treat Mint Like Flowers

  1. Remove the rubber band that holds the mint together after you bring a fresh bunch home.
  2. Trim the end of the stems by cutting off the leaves to allow some space at the cut ends. (Use these leaves for cooking or if you can’t use up all of them, there’s another way to keep them. Please refer to method #2.)
  3. In a relatively tall container such as a jar or a mug, carefully stick the mint stems in and add enough water to cover the cut ends.
  4. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and keep the contraption in your fridge.

Change water every two or three days. Just like basil, mint will probably root if you keep it long enough. This method can also be applied to store fresh scallion, parsley, and basil except that you don’t need to put basil into the fridge. Fresh herbs can last for a few weeks this way.

How To Preserve Mint

Method #2 Wrap Mint Leaves With A Damp Paper Towel

  1. Lay mint leaves on a damp paper towel. If you find the paper towel is too wet, just gently wring out the water.
  2. Wrap up the leaves with the paper towel and place it into plastic bag. Make sure the plastic bag is big enough not to crush the leaves. Seal it.
  3. Place the plastic bag in your fridge.

Mint can be stored for at least two weeks this way. It also works for most other herbs, I particularly use this method to store cilantro.

How To Preserve Fresh Mint


Method #1 Purée Fresh Herb Leaves

Gather fresh herb leaves, wash and dry them, and then purée the leaves in a food processor or blender with fresh garlic and a little extra-virgin olive oil. Fill small jars with the mixture and put the jars in your freezer. (Baby-food jars are recommended here, but I am obviously not going to get any for now.)

When fresh herbs are out of season, these small portions are supposed to be perfect for flavoring sauces, soups, casseroles, and marinades; for topping meat, poultry, and fish dishes before baking; for many more uses as you can come up with. It’s a great way to add a variety of fresh goodness to your cooking in all seasons.

Method #2 Freeze Herbs Into Ice Cube Trays

Delicate herbs like basil, dill, chives, chervils, tarragon, and parsley don’t taste very good when dried. Instead, freezing them works very well. Just chop the herbs, portion them generously into ice cube trays, and add a little chicken broth. Mint can be stored this way too but instead of using chicken broth, use water. This allows you to add the mint cubes to your iced tea and other cold drinks. (This is pure genius!)

Method #3 Use Up Fresh Herbs By Making Compound Butter

Combine fresh herbs with cold unsalted butter in your food processor and chop them. Shape the butter into small logs and wrap them in several layers of plastic wrap before refrigerating them or freezing them. Compound butter should be great for flavoring pasta, grilled fish or chicken, sauces, etc…

PS: A Tip For Dried Herbs

In order to get the most out of dried herbs, rub them between the palms of your hands before using them. This crushing action helps release their flavor more.

That’s all for now. I am sure there are many more ways to treat fresh herbs in order to prevent waste and probably many more other ways will be discovered or created as we continue our cooking journey. If you ever come across one, please share.

Free eBook


Sign up and get instant access to my free eBook. Learn the shelf life of 21 specific foods, the signs of spoiled foods, and how to store them properly to keep them fresh longer.

40 thoughts on “How to Preserve Fresh Mint & More Tips for Herbs”

  1. How can you tell if mint has gone bad?
    I just found this post and thus didn’t do the things you recommended. I bought fresh organic mint a while ago. It’s expiration date is March 7th – so 20 days ago. It has been in the refrigerator since. Right now, it isn’t wet, overly mushy, or black but many of the leaves have turned brownish purple.
    It smells fine. Is it safe to use? I realize it may not taste as good as it would if it were fresher, but I still want to use it rather than throwing it out.

    1. you already know it. leaves turning brown while dry is fine. let them dry completely and you have dry mint. hang it somewhere and use it whenever you need it.
      i never go by the dates printed. dont let others take away your sense of touch, look & smell

    1. Hi Nidhi, if the stems are long enough to be put in a container with water, then go for method 1. If not, go for method 2. You don’t have to get rid of the stems. Hope that helps.

  2. Thank you so much for the tip to store Mint. Do you wash the leaves before storing and store it as a bunch ot loose? I’ve removed the leaves from the stem and stored as per Method 2, however I’m washing the leaves prior to use because j feel washing them earlier may reduce the time they last? You

    1. Hey Noreen, I actually don’t wash the leaves before storing. Washing before using is probably on the safer end.

  3. I use this trick with basil, mint, parsley, oregano, and cilantro. Basil, mint, and oregano are likely to grow roots when left in fresh water and you can plant them when the roots are vigorous enough. Consider an indoor herb garden! Once the roots are established in soil the plants can withstand heavy clippings. I put them in plants I take in for the winter (my sage plants……) and they do quite well. Basil tends to get fairly leggy and tries to set seeds so I clip off a hardy stem and start the process over again.

  4. I have had great luck with freezing basil leaves whole. Wash, set out on a towel to dry, once dry lay them single-file on a piece of plastic wrap. Begin rolling the wrap on the short end, rolling the leaves in with the wrap. It will need to be tightly rolled enough to keep the leaves in place but not so tight as to crush them. You will end up with a roll of leaves. Fold this over to fit into a zip seal bag, get out as much air as possible, and freeze.

    To use, unroll to reveal as many leaves as you need then either trim or re-roll the plastic and return to the freezer.

    Because the leaves have been frozen they will be limp (and with basil at least, discolored) when you use them but all of the flavor will be there. Because of this they are good for anything cooked (pasta sauce), put through a blender / food processor (dressings, smoothies), or in drinks.

    I am going to try this with my fresh mint this year and expect similar results.

  5. Mahalo for the info. all this time I’ve been wrapping my veges w/a dry paper towel thinking that would keep them ‘going bad’. I put my fresh mint in a cup of water and put in the fridge~~next day half of it turned black and wilted……..I put them in the garbage disposal w/some lemon juice to make it smell good. I will try the ‘wet paper towel method…….I do so LOVE fresh mint on my fish fillets & iced tea. Mahalo*

  6. Thanks for all the info. But will cut mint turn black once it’s put in a jelly or salad or whatever. If so how can it be prevented???

    1. Hi Nancy, if you cut mint off the stems and use it for salad, it’s best that you enjoy it when it’s still fresh. If you have a big bunch of mint and can’t use it all at once, hope this tip can help you preserve mint for longer. Cheers!

  7. Thanks I did not know that you you can put the herbs in water.
    What I do is cut off some of the stems and wrap it around with wet paper towel and put any type of small plastic bag no top
    you can also us the bag you put your produce in, it will do just the same no need to buy baggies.

    1. Hey Cerrina! You are absolutely right. That’s exactly what I do with loose mint leaves. It works great. 🙂

  8. Wrapping salad in wet towel works perfectly! I can keep them fresh for over a week 🙂 I didn’t know that the same applies to mint! Just brought mine today and putting in a jar like flowers 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Oh, I didn’t know the same applies to salad. I must try that from now on. Thanks, Beata! Love the idea exchange. 🙂

  9. Thanks for posting these great ideas….tried it with mint & worked beautifully. Any suggestions for fresh rosemary?

    1. Rosemary…hmmm…not at the moment, but I will find out. 🙂 Glad to know the mint tip worked well for you. Thanks for the comment!

      1. I cut stems from my rosemary bush, place in a zip lock bag, get the air out, seal it and straight into the freezer. It freezes well and stays green and flavoursome for months.

  10. Thank you for the tip on mint leaves, unfortunately it came a little to late for me. I just brought the mint leaves yesterday and left them out on the counter overnight and this morning they look a week old, so i will purchase another bunch today and use your storing method. Thanks a million:)

    1. Thank you, I bought some mint leaves at the grocery store and ended up throwing half of it away because it turned black. I was trying to figure out what to do. So thanks!

  11. Thank you SO MUCH! I knew I could do this with asparagus and just tried it with cilantro (worked beautifully – they’ve been in the fridge a week and still kicking). I just brought home some mint and thought, “gee, that trick might work (in a jar of water), I wonder if they’ll get mildewy.” Seeing how it’s been a success for you, I’m going to give it a shot. Thanks again, Jen

  12. Thank you so much for posting this! I tried it this week and wow! The mint leaves are still kicking. I juice Tuesday through Friday and my mint leaves would only last 3 days at best. I’m so glad I found your blog. Many thanks. =)

    1. Awesome!!! Thanks a lot David for sharing your experience! So glad that your found this tip helpful! 😀

    1. No problem Maria! Glad that you like the paper towel method! It’s pretty convenient. Every time I make a lemonade, I just grab a few leaves and throw them in the beverage. Makes it yummier. 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *