Finding the best way to keep this herb, also know as coriander, will let you use it in meals year round. This guide is about preserving fresh cilantro.
Do I wash the cilantro first when I use the olive oil method for preserving?
I have had excellent results by chopping the whole bunch of cilantro into approximately 1 inch pieces and putting it all into the blender. Add approximately 1/2 cup of olive oil and turn the blender on to the lowest speed. Mine has a speed for chop and grate. You may have to carefully stir the top part to get it to rotate to the bottom of the blender. Be especially careful not to stir deep enough to touch the blender blades. It might be best to turn the blender off while doing this.
Stop the blender as soon as the entire bunch has reached the blades. The object is to achieve a coarse chop of all the cilantro. You don't want a puree. Remove the mixture from the blender and place in a container that closes tightly and store in the refrigerator. The oil and cilantro mixture will congeal. Then just spoon out as much as you need for your dish and stir it in.
I have only used this for dishes that I'm cooking but it has proven excellent for that. It will keep for months in the refrigerator.
Approximate Time: 15 minutes
Any tips about how to keep cilantro fresh and crisp? I try to dry it and it becomes damaged, then smelly and mushy. If I leave it alone (moist), it gets smelly and mushy. I've tried green bags, paper towels, leaving the container open in the fridge to pull moisture out, but nothing seems to work.
By Sandra from San Diego, CA
Wash and wrap in a paper towel (wet keeps paper towel moist ) then wrap in foil. Mine has stayed fresh for 4 weeks that way. My sister-n-law gave me this tip. Love it
Can cilantro be frozen?
By Joan from Harrisburg, PA
For your cilantro to last longer, put them with the roots in a cup or container of tap water and leave it on the kitchen window sill. Take a sheet of newspaper or paper towel, dampen it, and wrap the cleaned cilantro. Put it in a plastic bag or sealed lunch box, and keep in the fridge.
For longer storage, you can also wash, dry and chop. Put it in blender by itself, or with different herbs, and pour in ice cube trays. Freeze until you need it. Then just take a cube, and add to your curry or soups.
By Dorty from SA
To keep cilantro from wilting after you bring it home from the store, stand the bunch in a glass of water and stick it in the fridge. It will stay fresh for a week+. The same holds true for parsley.
By Anne from Green Bay, WI
How do you freeze cilantro?
By Trapper Cook from Riverton, Wy
I rinse, pat dry very well, remove stems and place in doubled freezer bags. One of the great things about frozen fresh cilantro (or basil, etc) is that it easily crumbles when taken straight from the freezer and no need to chop ;-) (08/06/2009)
Can anyone tell me how to keep fresh cilantro? When I buy it, there is so much in a bundle that I have trouble using it all before it starts to go bad. I usually just keep it in the bag, it comes with a paper towel in it to absorb moisture and I leave the bag partially open to breathe. I'm sure there is a way that would keep it fresh longer.
Thanks for any tips.
Shirley from IA
The best trick I have found is to simply wrap in a papertowel. It will keep it fresher longer. (02/27/2005)
I placed the unwashed cilantro in a glass of water, covered with a plastic bag and keep refrigerated. The water is changed daily. (02/27/2005)
I cheat. I buy a freezable tube of cilantro paste by Gourmet Garden. It should be available in the produce section of your local market. It lasts 3 months in freezer and tastes great in salsas and other dishes. It's more expensive than a bunch of fresh cilantro, but because I use it all up (and waste 3/4 of the fresh stuff), I feel like I'm saving $ by using it. (09/23/2005)
If you have a Tupperware Fridgesmart container it will keep it fresh for about 10-12 days. It really works. (09/24/2005)
Overall, the key for produce of any type to keep well is to treat it gently, no bruising. Yes, the papertowel wrapped around the cilantro or other green produce works well. Greens that are washed and then either gently patted with a clean towel or in a salad spinner, or whatever, to remove excess moisture then wrap in a paper towel then placed in a regular plastic grocery bag keep well.
Another option is to take fresh cilantro (or parsley) and trim the bottom a quarter inch or so to expose fresh stem bottoms, then to put this in a glass of water, but do not allow leaves to dip into water, just stems. When I harvest it I cut it close to the ground to have the longest stems to put in the glass and trim a bit as stated. Cool fresh water. Clean glass.
I just set this on the kitchen counter to use as needed. I do check it daily for any wilting and to trim the stems again every day or every other day, and change the water. This helps the cilantro to continue to "drink". It keeps pretty well, and is readily available. Either option works well, it does keep better in the refrigerator, but it fares quite well kept in a glass as described. (12/06/2005)
If only using for cooking or salsa, I freeze individual portions wrapped in papertowel and plastic wrap. It goes dark green, but tastes the same and is easy to cut up or blend while partially frozen. (02/27/2006)
They have a great deal on cilantro right now. What is the best way to preserve fresh cilantro in your refrigerator? I may dry some but I want to use some fresh as well, but it always seems to go bad on me so quickly.
We use a lot of cilantro in cooking and I buy it fresh and then break the leaves off and place in a clean ice tray and finish filling with water and freeze. After they are good and frozen I pop them out of the trays and store in freezer bags in the freezer until they are needed. That way when I need a little cilantro for beans, stews or whatever I have it on hand. (06/11/2004)
I have found a quick and easy way to freeze cilantro. Wash it very well, pat dry and divide the bundle in half, turn half of the cilantro around so leaves are sitting on stems. Place into a plastic bag and roll fairly tight, then secure with a couple rubber bands.
When I needed cilantro I just roll back the plastic and with my scissors cut off as much as I want for my recipe, then I close the bag replace the rubber band and put it back in the freezer. Even though the cilantro has been frozen it works in fresh salsa. (07/09/2007)
Chop Cilantro up into the size you prefer, then put the Cilantro into individual ice cube tray cells. You should add a bit of water (or tomato sauce instead of the water). When cubes are frozen, take them out of the trays and put the cilantro into labeled & dated zip-lock type bags.
When you need cilantro: Simply take out the amount of cubes you need, thaw them out & add them to your recipe.
If you need to freeze a much larger amount, I would use old yogurt, or cottage cheese containers with lids instead of the ice cube trays. Don't forget to label & date your containers. This method works for all fresh herbs, chives & green onions too! Fresh chopped garden tomatoes are great to add with the Cilantro. Make your own herbal mix. (07/09/2007)
I noticed nobody responded to Eve's question. Well Eve, before finding this site, I found another one that said you can grind them with olive oil to preserve it. I just finished doing just that, and placed it in my fridge. I hope it works and lasts. I have only used it once for a recipe, and I love it. I plan to find more dishes to use it as well. :D (12/09/2007)