When I first moved out from my parents' house and began to shop for my own groceries, I was frustrated by how quickly my herbs and vegetables would go bad. Over time, I learned some valuable techniques to extend the shelf life of my favourite types of produce.
Storing fresh herbs
Normally, a bunch of cilantro barely lasts a week in the fridge before it wilts. If you place the stems in a glass of water and cover the leaves with a plastic bag, your cilantro can actually last up to a month in the fridge. The bag acts like a humidity tent to help your cilantro retain the right amount of moisture. This trick can also be used for other herbs.
I love green onions and can go through them quicker than a termite can go through wood. I learned from a friend that you can regrow your green onions by keeping the bulb or root end in a glass of water on a countertop. Change the water every few days and the green ends of your green onions will grow rapidly! Cut off some of the green ends when you need them - they will continue to grow back repeatedly for a few weeks. This trick can also be used for some leafy greens, like lettuce and bok choy.
If you want to always have herbs like mint or basil available, then simply cut off a piece of the stem that is a few inches long, remove all but the top leaves, and keep the cut end in a glass of water. Place the glass near a sunny window and change or refill the water every few days. After a few weeks, new roots will begin to emerge from the cut end of the stem. For best results, plant the newly rooted cutting in a pot of soil or in the ground. The cutting will then continue to grow, yielding a new plant. The amazing thing is that you can "clone" the herbs over and over, provided that you nurture them properly
Not only are these tricks great for saving money, they are also great for the environment - by reducing food waste or regrowing your own produce, you are also reducing your carbon footprint because you are less dependent on grocery stores and, consequently, Big Ag and the transportation industry.