How To Preserve Cilantro

Cilantro is a leafy herb that is the most popular Asian and Mexican dishes, and growing cilantro is among the easiest. An abundant harvest means it’s time to come up with new ways to keep those fresh herbs.

We’ll teach you how to preserve cilantro using various methods to increase its shelf life while maintaining its distinctive flavor.

Chopping fresh cilantro leaves and adding them to salsa, guacamole, or pesto is one of the best things you can do.

These aromatic herbs provide unrivaled depth and seasoning, and their distinct traits are cherished or despised in the kitchen.

In our guide, you can learn how to keep cilantro fresh if you just bought too much, or if you have a bumper harvest, you can find out how to store cilantro in fridge or the best way to preserve the herb for long-term use.

Ways to Preserve Cilantro

How Do You Store Cilantro Long-Term?

Cilantro is a simple herb to produce, but it only lasts a short time after being clipped, losing its vibrant green color and crisp texture. In contrast to herbs that should be planted in the fall, cilantro and coriander thrive in the spring and early summer.

Depending on how and when you plan to use this plant, the best way to store cilantro can vary. Cilantro is fragrant and flavorful shortly after it is clipped, but it quickly loses its zest and appearance, thus making it unfit for consumption. How you store cilantro affects how long it lasts.

Cilantro should never be kept on your kitchen counter because it will last no more than a few hours at room temperature. Refrigerating cilantro means you can keep it fresh for around ten days.

Freezing cilantro for up to six months extends its shelf life, although freezing doesn’t kill the decomposing enzymes. Take it from the freezer, and you can find preserved cilantro that goes mushy if you don’t use it right away after it thaws.

One of the better ways to keep freshness is to keep it in the refrigerator and covered in olive oil.

The good news is, here are various ways you can use to preserve cilantro.

Preserving Cilantro In Your Fridge

The freezer is your friend for food preservation, and it’s also a great way to store herbs. One of the easiest ways to preserve cilantro in the freezer is to freeze the leaves whole.

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Kitchen shears
  • Glass jar
  • Water
  • Paper towel
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band

Set aside a jar or cup with a few inches of water to preserve cilantro in the fridge. Spread the cilantro on a clean surface and trim the bottom stems by approximately an inch.

Place the herbs in the water jar, stem side down, and loosely cover with a plastic bag. Refrigerate the container with the plastic wrap over it. Check the water every two days and replace it if it discolors. (Learn Can You Freeze Cottage Cheese)

Preserve cilantro in the fridge

How to Preserve Cilantro in Your Freezer

The freezer is your friend for food preservation and storing herbs. One of the easiest ways to preserve cilantro is to freeze a whole bunch of leaves.

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Paper towel
  • Baking sheet
  • Freezer bag

Wash and dry fresh cilantro sprigs thoroughly before keeping. Separate the herb leaves from the stems and arrange them flat on a baking sheet.

Flash freeze the herbs for 30 minutes. Place the frozen leaves in a freezer bag and label it with the name and date.

Coriander comes from the Greek word koris, which means bugs. That’s because coriander seeds smell like bed bugs. Cilantro, also known as coriander, Chinese parsley, or Pak Chee, is a popular culinary herb.

If the recipe calls for fresh cilantro, you won’t have the bright flavor you get with fresh to use as a garnish or topping.

Tips to Freeze Cilantro

The trick to freezing fragile plants like cilantro (and parsley) is to keep them oxygen-free. Its delicate texture and flavor may be ruined by freezer burn. (Learn How To Preserve Onions From The Garden)

Here are three tips for freezing cilantro and keeping the unique flavor.

Vacuum Sealed Bags

Because air destroys frozen cilantro, vacuum sealing them protects them from freezer burn. You will need a vacuum sealer and the individual baggies that come with it. To use longer sprigs, cut them up before using them in dishes. Place the sprigs in the vacuum bag, expel the air, and seal. Place the bags in the freezer and label them with the freezing date.

Freeze cilantro

Ice Cube Trays

Using ice cube trays to freeze cilantro helps prevent freezer burn. This approach uses pre-chopped cilantro, which implies less work when using it in a recipe. Finely cut or process cilantro. Fill an ice cube dish to the brim.

Cover the cilantro with just enough water or olive oil. Water and oil operate as oxygen barriers, protecting the fragile leaves.

Defrost the ice cube tray, then pop the cubes into a bag. Place the cubes back in the freezer and date the bag. The tablespoon-sized ice cube tray size makes adding this popular herb to main dishes and recipes simple.

Zip Top Freezer Bag

The last approach is the simplest, although it does not keep cilantro as fresh as the first. Cut your cilantro into lengths and arrange them together.

Place them in a sandwich bag and then roll the bag around the cilantro and bind it using a rubber band or tape to keep air away from your sprigs.

To further protect your bagged cilantro from oxygen, pour a little olive oil in the bag after putting the sprigs in. Massage the cilantro through the bag to thoroughly coat the sprigs. Then seal and roll the bags as described above to keep as much air out as possible.

How Do You Preserve Cilantro For Later Use?

Olive oil keeps cilantro fresher in the fridge. A teaspoon of savory herb oil provides just the proper amount of kick to your favorite recipe.

Cilantro Olive Oil

  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Paper towel
  • Food processor
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • Storage container

Hold the cilantro sprigs under cool, running water to wash away dirt, and then pat the leaves dry with a paper towel.

Slice the cilantro into small bits with a knife or put it in a blender or food processor to coarsely chop it, but do not puree it. Refrigerate the chopped herbs and olive oil for up to one month.

How Do You Dry and Preserve Cilantro?

Start in the store by buying the greenest, perkiest finishing herb of cilantro you can find. Put a whole bunch of fresh cilantro in water as you would cut flowers.

Cilantro, like other fresh herbs, does well in the freezer. Here’s how to freeze it:

  • Rinse the herbs as usual. Prepare a bowl of ice-cold water.
  • Bring a separate pot of water to a boil and use a pair of tongs to dunk the cilantro (with stems still intact) in the boiling water for a few seconds.
  • Once the herbs are bright green, immediately plunge them into your ice bath to stop the cooking process.
  • Pat your herbs dry, or better, use a salad spinner.
  • Remove the leaves from the stems.
  • Process the cilantro with half a cup of olive oil to create a paste in a food processor.
  • Freeze cilantro in portions using your ice cube tray. This way, you have pre-portioned, chopped cilantro for adding to any dish.
  • Freeze for up to six months preserving cilantro this way.
  • For cooked dishes, add the frozen cubes of cilantro straight from frozen. Thaw the herbs and drain the oil and moisture for other dishes before adding the finely chopped cilantro to your dish for a distinct taste.

Note, you won’t get the same texture after freezing cilantro, even for a few days. However, no matter which way to preserve cilantro you use, it still lends itself to healthy eating and has that signature flavor. (Read White Spots On Tomato Leaves – What to Do)

Guide for Drying Cilantro

Drying Cilantro for Preservation

  1. The last method is to dry cilantro. Most shops sell dried cilantro, but if you have fresh cilantro on hand that you won’t use, why not save some money and start storing cilantro. Wash and dry your cilantro.
  2. Remove the leaves from the stems.
  3. Preheat your oven to 250°F.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  5. Lay the leaves out in a single layer and place them on your oven’s highest rack.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until your cilantro is dry and crumbly.
  7. Take out of the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Crumble the leaves using a spatula and scrape them off the baking sheet into an airtight container.
  9. Keep for three years.

As with other dried herbs, one teaspoon dried equals one tablespoon fresh.

What Can I Do With Excess Cilantro?

You can find no end of recipes that lend themselves to the addition of chopped cilantro that is great for the whole family.

The freezing method is quick and straightforward, and the cubes are convenient for tossing into recipes such as stews and soups.

Frozen Cilantro Cubes can take your fresh cilantro that would otherwise go to waste, and all they take to make are a sharp knife, a cutting board, and a couple of other kitchen tools.

To make your frozen puree, add your cilantro leaves into a blender or food processor. Add enough water to form a paste, and blend until you have the desired consistency. Spoon into your ice tray and freeze.

You can pop the frozen cilantro cubes into a bag ready for use. You can find recipes such as vegan sweet potatoes with cilantro, cream cheese, and cilantro mixed. Cream cheese and cilantro show that opposites attract.

While you can quickly freeze cilantro, cilantro tastes best fresh, and cilantro fresh will enhance everything from salsa to soup.

Luckily, it’s easy to preserve cilantro in the fridge and freezer for all your recipes by using all the above information rather than keep buying from the grocery store when your recipes call for cilantro.

How To Preserve Cilantro

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