Is there a difference between how long fresh herbs and vegetables last if they are in a plastic bag or in the open? If it does, is there a break-down of which ones it does make a difference for - example: cilantro seems to get mushy very quickly in a bag but last for a week in the open, but scallions last much longer in a plastic bag and deflate almost immediately in the open.

3 Answers 3


It depends on the moisture content. If the vegetables are wet when put in they will get mildew and go soft faster because the water has no place to evaporate. This is made worse when leafy greens are put in bags since they have so many nooks and crannies to hold water, and they seep out their own moisture content because of the large surface area. Try drying off the veggies first or putting them through a salad spinner to get as much water out of them as possible.

  • 2
    If I use a bag I'll go for paper mostly as it seems to absorb moisture instead of trapping it in
    – NBenatar
    Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 16:48
  • Very true. I actually avoid buying lettuce at the market if the sprinklers have just gone off. Otherwise, drying things is a good idea. Except perhaps for carrots, they seem to actually do better with a bit of moisture trapped in - not sure how it effects longevity with regard to mold, etc.
    – zanlok
    Commented Dec 14, 2010 at 16:45

Drying herbs and lettuces before storing them in plastic is a good idea. You can also lay them in the bag on top of a paper towel if you aren't able to remove all the water droplets from those pesky nooks & crannies.

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    I go with wrapped in a paper towel, then put into a plastic bag, so there's still airflow around the herbs, and it'll absorb any moisture they might give off.
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 23:19

The optimal temperature for storing herbs is about 12 degrees Celsius, which is about 55 degrees Farenheit (53.6 actually).

If your counter top or pantry are near this temperature, then you shouldn't refrigerate your fresh herbs. If you must refrigerate them, they will give off moisture which will condense on the leaves and make them less fun. You can use a paper towel or such to capture the moisture so that it doesn't condense, but the leaves are still losing their moisture, making them less crunchy/upright and causing them either to wil or dry out completely.

Ultimately, the best is to just use them fresh.

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