Cleaning and Preparing Herbs Article -
Add a Comment

How to Clean and Prep Herbs

If you don't enjoy eating gritty lettuce or herbs, you'll want to learn this method!

This process allows you to remove any dirt or insects that might be hidden inside your leafy herbs and vegetables.

1. We used Italian flat leaf parsley to illustrate this process. The bright green leafy tips of parsley are the most desirable parts, but save the long stems that are too fibrous to eat. They are extremely flavorful and can be added to soup stock. Never buy parsley that is wilted, yellow, or has holes in the leaves. Select the bunch that is erect in structure and has dark green leaves--qualities to look for when selecting most herbs. 

    2. Place the herbs into a deep bowl of cold water, or into a clean, water-filled sink. Use a lot of water when washing herbs--too little water doesn't allow the dirt to settle or the herbs to float clear. Once the herbs are submerged, stir them before leaving them to soak for a moment. Once the dirt has sunk to the bottom of the bowl, remove the herbs by skimming them up and out of the water. (Pouring the bowl's contents through a straining device will only dump the dirt back onto the herbs.) Rinse the bowl or sink free of dirt and repeat this process until the herbs are cleaned to your satisfaction.

      3. Once the herbs have been cleaned, spread them out on a dry towel. Carefully blot the herbs with the towel before gently rolling it up around them. Let the bundle sit for a few minutes until the excess water has been absorbed.

        4. Pick the leaves off of the stems. For aesthetically perfect and fiber-free herbs, completely remove any trace of stem. Some herbs like cilantro, however, have edible stems that do not need to be completely removed. Discard or save stems as needed.

          5. These herbs are ready for cooking! They can be tossed into a salad or pasta, used whole in a sauce, torn, or chopped. If you'd like some new herb recipes, Fabulous Cilantro Pesto, Beef and Barley Soup, and Fresh Herb Dinner Rolls use herbs in creative and delicious ways.

          Aug. 1, 2009 12:43 pm
          Great tips as always! Thank you very much!
          Jan. 9, 2010 1:52 pm
          Thank you! Now I know what I have been doing wrong with my herbs!! Great ideas!
          Feb. 16, 2010 12:26 pm
          Please tell me how much is a "bunch" of Cilantro? I bought it at the supermarket and it's a LOT! The recipe for "African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup" calls for a bunch to top off with and I'm pretty sure that's a lot less than I have in hand...
          Feb. 25, 2010 7:37 pm
          I have used the bowl soaking method for years & you'll be surprised with the grit & sand in the bottom of the bowl. You will feel much better when seeing this, especially after cleaning curley parsley!!
          May 17, 2010 1:55 pm
          My basil is BIG this year. Can I mix it with chop and blend with olive oil and then freeze it? I actually have 4 varieties of basil. Can they be mixed for pesto?
          May 17, 2010 1:56 pm
          My previous entry should say "can I chop it and blend with olive oil"?
          Lori C 
          Jul. 29, 2010 2:33 pm
          I just brought home some basil from my community garden plot and the leaves are black already. Is it still good?
          Aug. 18, 2010 1:31 pm
          vj - Hi, yes. That's what I did last year. I put it in the food processor to chop and then added just enough oil to coat the leaves. I then put it in plastic zipper snack bags and froze it flat. I just break it off as I need it.
          Aug. 23, 2010 1:21 pm
          My boyfriend and I bought fresh basil from a farmer's market and have a lot leftover. Is it ok to freeze the leaves and if so for how long?
          Dec. 5, 2010 9:18 am
          Feb. 12, 2011 4:08 pm
          I bought a bottle of Rosemary seasoning and it is very coarse. Once I tried putting it in the blender on "CHOP" and even "PUREE" and this just doesn't grind it down. Is there a secret out there that someone would kindly share. This stuff is like hay! TIA to anyone that can refine this stuff!
          Sep. 7, 2011 6:20 pm
          You can buy a herb grinder (it is similar to pepper grinder) You place the rosemary in the bottom, turn over and grind how much You can adjust the level of fineness you want. It can be purchased from or a kitchen gadget store. Hope this helps. I use mine often.
          island girl 
          Jun. 28, 2012 11:07 am
          Love to grow herbs. When I cut them off at the pot they are growing in,will they grow again (cilantro & parsley) or do I need to re seed? I'm ok with basil.
          May 28, 2013 9:17 pm
          how do you dry basil and what type of container should you store it in. Also, how long will it keep?
          Jul. 19, 2013 3:47 am
          Thank you for this article. it is and interesting method which works
          Mar. 20, 2015 7:45 am
          Submerging is a good idea and you can also use a salad spinner to dry, quicker and just as effective.
          Subscribe Today!

          In Season

          Chicken Breast Recipes
          Chicken Breast Recipes

          With our 2,700+ chicken breast recipes, you'll never serve the same old chicken again.

          Zucchini On The Grill
          Zucchini On The Grill

          The firm, juicy texture of zucchini make them a perfect side to toss on the grill.

          Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
          Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

          Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

          Related Videos

          How to Season Cast Iron

          See how to care for cast iron cookware so it lasts for years and years.

          How to Clean Mushrooms

          Watch tips for cleaning, prepping, and storing all types of mushrooms.

          All about Italian Herbs

          See how to make your own blend of Italian herbs.

          Recently Viewed Recipes

          You haven't looked at any recipes lately. Get clicking!
          Quick Links: Recipe Box | Shopping List | More »
          Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

          Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States