Let me just get this out of the way – no other seasoning or dressing can taste anywhere near as good as cilantro sprinkled on top of creamy curries!
I love using cilantro in my cooking. Whenever I cook anything remotely Mexican or Asian, I make sure to garnish the dish with a handful of fresh cilantro leaves. It brings out such a nice and fresh flavor in my dishes. However, the one problem that I’ve always had with this flavorful herb is just how quickly it dries out and becomes unusable. This is until I learned how to store it properly. Now I buy cilantro bundles and use the amount that I need for my dish, while storing the rest of it for later use!
Read on to find out how to store cilantro!
How to Store Cilantro
There are 4 easy ways in which you can store cilantro – storing it in the fridge, freezing it in plastic bags, freezing it in ice cube trays, and drying it to store in your spice cabinet. Here’s the ultimate lowdown on the different ways to store cilantro:
Storing Fresh Cilantro in the Fridge
If you are looking for a quick way to keep cilantro fresh for a week or two, then storing it in the fridge is the best way to go. Here’s how you can do it:
Things You Will Need
- Thoroughly rinse a glass jar and fill it with a few inches of water, enough to submerge the stalks of the cilantro.
- Pat the cilantro sprigs and leaves dry with a paper towel. Make sure to be gentle or you might tear the leaves. (Pro Tip: Even if the cilantro bunch looks dirty, don’t wash the herb now. Wash it right before you plan on using it. This trick will help it last longer.)
- Place a bunch of cilantro on a cutting board and use a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the bottom of the stems. This allows the fresh part of the stem to absorb as much water as possible when stored, which keeps it fresh.
- Quickly submerge the cilantro with the stems first into the water. You want to be as quick as possible because the cilantro stems start to dry as soon as you cut them.
- Cover the cilantro jar with a clean plastic bag and make sure it covers the leaves and the mouth of the jar, but let it be a little loose so that it doesn’t push the cilantro leaves down. (Pro Tip: You can use a strip of tape or rubber band to tie around the plastic bag to keep air from drying out the cilantro.)
- Put the jar in your fridge in a spot where it won’t get knocked over and where you can see it.
- Make sure to replace the water in the jar every few days to ensure that the cilantro remains fresh.
Freezing Whole Cilantro Leaves in Plastic Bags
If you want to store whole cilantro leaves for a long time, then you can store them in your freezer. Here’s how you can freeze cilantro in plastic bags:
Things You Will Need
- Place the cilantro sprigs in a colander and wash them thoroughly.
- Let the cilantro sprigs drip dry in the colander for a minute or two before you pat them dry with a paper towel. Make sure to be gentle so that you don’t tear any leaves. (Pro Tip: You can gently wrap and roll a bunch of cilantro in a paper towel to dry it.)
- Cut the cilantro leaves away from the stalks with a sharp knife or a pair of scissors.
- Place a freezer or butter paper on top of a baking sheet and spread your cut cilantro leaves on it in a single layer. Make sure to space out the leaves so that they don’t stick together.
- Put the baking sheet in your freezer for 30 minutes. This will allow the leaves to flash freeze so that they don’t stick to each other and form a clump.
- Take out the baking tray and transfer the frozen leaves into a heavy-duty freezer bag right away.
- Make sure to squeeze all the air out of the bag, seal it, and place it in your freezer.
Freezing Chopped Cilantro
If you want to store chopped cilantro, then the best way to do that is to store it in your freezer in ice cube trays. Here’s how you can do that:
Things You Will Need
- Wash the cilantro in a colander and let it drip dry before you pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Place the sprigs on a cutting board and dice them up with a sharp knife. Alternatively, you can chop it in a food processor.
- Put 1 tablespoon of diced cilantro in each ice cube section, until you have filled all the sections.
- Use a spoon to fill each section with water until all the cilantro is submerged in water.
- Carefully place the ice cube tray in your freezer so that you don’t drop any water or cilantro on the floor.
Drying the Cilantro
You can also store cilantro by drying the leaves in your oven and using them as a spice in your dishes, here’s how:
Things You Will Need
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash your cilantro sprigs in a colander and let them drip dry.
- Pat them dry with paper towels.
- Place the cilantro on your cutting board and use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to separate the leaves from the stalks and dispose of the stalks.
- Coat a cooking sheet in a layer of cooking spray and place the cilantro leaves on it in a single layer.
- Put the cooking sheet in your oven for 20 to 30 minutes. The heat will dry out the leaves and they will slightly lose their green color. However, if the leaves start to brown, then you should either take them out or lower the heat of the oven.
- Once the leaves have completely dried, take the sheet out of the oven and let the leaves cool.
- Use a spatula to scrape off the dried leaves and store them in a spice jar.
- Place the jar in a cool and dark storage area.
That’s it, you now know how to store cilantro in 4 different ways!
How to Keep Cilantro Fresh
The best way to keep cilantro fresh in the fridge is to store it without washing and washing it only prior to using it. Moreover, if you loosely tie a plastic bag around the jar in which you store it, it will keep the leaves fresh. Also, make sure to change the water every two days to keep the stored cilantro fresh.
How Long Does Cilantro Last
When stored properly, cilantro can easily last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. However, if the leaves start to brown and give off a pungent smell, then dispose of the cilantro right away. When stored in a freezer bag and in ice cube trays, cilantro can last up to 2 months after which it will lose its flavor. When dried in an oven and stored in an airtight spice jar, cilantro leaves can easily last for a year.
The Bottom Line
I hope you enjoyed reading this guide on how to store cilantro. You can keep it in your fridge, freeze the leaves, and even dry them in your oven to store in your spice rack! Try out all the methods mentioned above to extend the life of this perishable herb and enjoy it as a seasoning in delicious dishes.