How to Store Fresh Rosemary

Whether you grow your own or buy it at the grocery store, you might be wondering how to store fresh rosemary so that it doesn’t dry out. Well, wonder no more! Here’s everything you need to know about storing fresh rosemary to keep it good for weeks!

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Fresh rosemary stored in a jar with water.
How to store fresh rosemary.

Storing fresh rosemary

Rosemary is an herb with a pungent, savory aroma that is perfect for grilling or roasting meats, vegetables, and other savory dishes. Fresh rosemary is the best to use, however, it only lasts a few when it’s left out on your kitchen table.

If you made a purchase of fresh rosemary from the store, or if you just pruned your rosemary bush back, you probably don’t want to use it all straight away, but you want it to stay fresh.

Storing fresh herbs can be tricky, which is why we’ve put together this blog post on how to store fresh rosemary. Whether you pick up a fresh bunch at the store or grow it in your own garden, it’s important that you know how to store this delicious herb correctly.

Scroll down for the step-by-step printable guide on how to store fresh rosemary, or read on for all the details. 

Harvest and prepare the rosemary

Use the freshest rosemary

Use the freshest rosemary possible. Either cut it right before you are ready to store it, or choose the freshest bunch of parsley you can from the grocery store or farmers market. 

If cutting your own, harvest the rosemary sprigs by cutting 6-8 inch stems from the bush. Choose sprigs that are mature (no longer soft and bright green), but not too old.

>>Related article: How to harvest rosemary

Prepare rosemary for storage

To prepare the rosemary for storing, remove any damaged or dead leaves from your rosemary sprigs. 

Then wash the rosemary under fresh cold water to remove any surface dust or dirt, and gently pat dry on paper towels.

How to store fresh rosemary in the fridge

Storing rosemary in the fridge is the best way to keep it freshest for longest. The aim is to create a damp environment to slow the loss of water from the leaves, but without the leaves being wet and becoming slimy.

There are two basic ways to store fresh rosemary in the refrigerator:

1. Store in a jar of water

Place the fresh rosemary sprigs in a jar with an inch of fresh water, just like a bouquet of flowers.

Trim the cut ends before you do this unless the rosemary is very freshly harvested (after harvesting the cut ends will start to ‘heal’, so they should be re-cut to ensure that they can use the water you are putting them in).

Cover the jar loosely with cling wrap or a plastic bag. If using a large Mason jar or quart container, you can cover the herbs with the lid.

Alternatively, you could get a herb saver* to store your fresh herbs. This is a purpose-made jar for keeping fresh herbs fresh, which is designed to fit in the fridge door of most standard-sized refrigerators.

Fresh cut rosemary stored in a mason jar.
Store fresh cut rosemary in a jar with a little fresh water.
Jar of fresh rosemary stored in fridge door with bottles of sauce.
Place the jar of fresh rosemary in the fridge.

It is best to store the jar in the refrigerator if you can, though the rosemary will still last well if stored like this on the kitchen counter.

Change the water as needed or if it discolors.

2. Store between damp paper towels

Store fresh rosemary in the refrigerator between two damp paper towels either in an air-tight container or a ziplock bag.

You want the paper towels to be damp rather than fully saturated. I like to spray the paper towels with water rather than sticking them under the tap as it is easier to control the amount of water you apply. 

Store the container in the crisper draw of your refrigerator.

Check the rosemary every couple of days and replace the paper towels as needed.

Fresh rosemary in a container with paper towels.
Store sprigs of fresh rosemary between damp paper towels in an airtight container.
Container with fresh rosemary in the fridge.
Place the container in the fridge, in the crisper draw if you have one.

How long to store rosemary in the refrigerator

Fresh parsley will keep for around 5-6 weeks if stored this way in the refrigerator.

When the rosemary starts to turn dark, brittle or the stems show signs of mold, it’s time to throw them out.

How to store fresh rosemary long term

If you want to store fresh rosemary for the longer term you have a few options.

If you want to store it for a longer time then try freezing the rosemary sprigs in zip-lock bags. They should last for up to 6 months.

Alternatively, drying rosemary is also very easy and a great way to store it for up to 2 years. Check out our article on how to dry rosemary for more.

How to store fresh rosemary

Fresh rosemary stored in a jar with water.

How to store fresh rosemary to keep it good for weeks.

Materials

  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary [Note 1]

Tools

  • A large jar or drinking glass and a lid or plastic bag OR
  • An air-tight container and paper towels

Instructions

First, prepare the rosemary

  1. Remove any damaged or dead leaves from your rosemary sprigs.
  2. Wash the rosemary sprigs under fresh cold water to remove any surface dust or dirt, and gently pat dry on paper towels.

Method 1: Stand in water

  1. Trim the ends of the rosemary (unless freshly harvested), then stand the cut stems in a glass or jar of cool water.
  2. Loosely cover the jar with a food-safe plastic bag or cling wrap to keep the leaves clean.
  3. Store the jar in the refrigerator [Note 2].
  4. Change the water every couple of days to keep it fresh.

Method 2: Store in paper towels

  1. Line an air tight container (or ziplock bag) with damp paper towels.
  2. Place the rosemary sprigs into the container and place another damp paper towel on top.
  3. Seal the container and store it in the crisper draw of your refrigerator.
  4. Check the rosemary every couple of days and replace the paper towels as needed. 

Fresh rosemary should keep for around 6 weeks if stored using one of these methods [Note 3].

Notes

  1. Use the freshest rosemary possible. Either cut it right before you are ready to store it, or choose the freshest bunch of rosemary you can from the grocery store or farmers market. 
  2. You can keep the jar on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator. If storing it on the kitchen counter, the flavor will gradually be lost as the natural oils in the leaves are lost to the air. Storing it in the fridge will preserve the flavor for longer (so choose this option if you have the space.
  3. You will know it is time to throw it out when the rosemary leaves start to turn dark or brittle, or if the stems start showing signs of sliminess or mold. 

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