Cilantro is usually sold by the bunch, but chances are that you only need a few leaves. The good news is that instead of wasting the rest, there are different ways to store cilantro, depending on when you will need to use it again.
How to store cilantro? There are many different ways to store cilantro. You can dry it, which will allow you to use the herb up to 3 years later. You can refrigerate it, and depending on which method you use, the cilantro will last for 2 days to 2 weeks. Finally, you can freeze cilantro, and this will allow you to use it up to 2 months later. Even if you only need a few leaves of cilantro, with a bit of foresight, you’ll eventually be able to use the entire bunch.
What is Cilantro
Cilantro is a herb that unfortunately divides many. Some love the peppery and citrus taste of it, while others think that even a few leaves can destroy a dish.
However, if you are in the first category and love to cook with cilantro, your dishes will greatly benefit from the fresh taste it brings.
Cilantro actually comes from the coriander plant, and in the United Kingdom, both the plant’s leaves and the resulting seeds are called coriander. In North America, the leaves of the plant are called cilantro and the seeds are called coriander.
This herb is part of the parsley family, and many home cooks can attest to bringing home the wrong herb from the produce store because the two look so similar.
Cilantro has bright green leaves that grow at the top of long stalks. The leaves are flat with many scalloped edges.
You can find cilantro in many dishes around the world. It is popular in diverse cuisines such as Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian. It is starting to be featured in more North American dishes, as well.
Different Ways to Store Cilantro
There are many ways to use cilantro, and while fresh cilantro is common, there are also plenty of uses for dried cilantro. Instead of throwing out perfectly good cilantro, and then also buying dried cilantro, why not combine the two for an economical solution.
Take a bunch of cilantro, and tie a string around its stems. You will want to hang the bunch upside down in a cool, dark place.
If the area is frequented, you can place a brown paper bag around the cilantro so that no dust accumulates. Just remember to cut a few holes in the bag for proper air circulation.
After 7 to 14 days, your cilantro will be dry enough to harvest. You will know it’s ready if it crumbles when you touch it.
Take the dried cilantro and place it in a food processor. If you don’t have one, you can use a coffee grinder or even an old fashioned pestle and mortar.
If the cilantro doesn’t seem dry enough, you can place it on a baking tray and let it air dry further.
Place all your dried cilantro in an air-tight container such as a jar. There is one further step to take. Every day, remove the lid for an hour to allow any excess moisture to escape.
Dried cilantro will last for 2 to 3 years.
Paper Towel and Air-tight Container
A very simple way to store cilantro doesn’t require any extra effort, and perhaps most people have naturally always engaged in this method.
For those that have leftover cilantro from the grocery store, simply wash and let it air dry. Then, line an air-tight container with paper towel.
Place the clean cilantro inside and close the lid. With this method, your cilantro stays fresh for 2 to 3 days.
Cilantro does not do well at room temperature. If you leave it out, or forget to place it in the refrigerator, cilantro will start to wilt after just a few hours.
One of the best ways to store cilantro is in a jar of water in the refrigerator. Start with a clean jar and pour 2 to 3 inches of water in the jar.
Even though your cilantro stems will be in water, the cilantro leaves should be dry. However, you don’t need to wash the cilantro until you remove it to use.
Cut the stems of a bunch of cilantro so there is a nice, clean cut. You can use a pair of kitchen scissors or a sharp knife.
Transfer the cilantro into the jar so the stems are in the water and the leaves are facing up. Then, place a plastic bag on top so that it loosely covers the cilantro leaves. If you need to, use a rubber band to keep the bag in place.
If the water starts to change color, simply pour it out and add fresh water. This method will keep cilantro fresh for up to 2 weeks.
If you have a lot of cilantro and know you won’t be using it soon, then there is a method to store it in the freezer.
Start by thoroughly cleaning your cilantro. Let it dry for a few minutes and then gently pat it with paper towels.
Once dry, chop a bunch of cilantro into small pieces. You can decide if you just want the leaves, or if you want the stems as well.
Take a clean ice cube tray and fill each space with about 1 tablespoon of the chopped cilantro. Then, fill the rest of the spaces with fresh water.
Place the ice cube trays in the freezer. Wait until they are frozen, which will take a few hours. Then, pop the cubes out and place in freezer bags.
Label and date the bags. You can freeze cilantro for up to 2 months.
Cilantro is a herb that really elevates your food. Whether you want it in guacamole or as a garnish for your soup, it adds a certain kick. However, if you have excess cilantro, there are many ways to either dry it, refrigerate it, or freeze it, for later use.