Cilantro is a popular herb that is widely used in many cuisines around the world, bringing a burst of freshness and flavor to dishes. If you love cooking with cilantro, it’s important to know the best way to store it so that it stays fresh and flavorful for as long as possible. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about buying, cleaning, drying, cutting, and storing cilantro, so that you can always have this delicious herb on hand in your kitchen.
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What is Cilantro?
Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an herb that comes from the leaves of the coriander plant. It has a bright, fresh flavor and a distinctive aroma that is often described as tangy or citrusy. Cilantro is widely used in many different types of cuisine, from Mexican to Thai, and is a popular ingredient in salsa, guacamole, and other dips.
How to Buy Cilantro
When shopping for cilantro, look for bright green leaves that are free from yellow or brown spots. The stems should be firm and not wilted. Cilantro can often be found in the produce section of your grocery store, and it can also be found in the herbs and spices aisle in dried form.
How to Clean Cilantro
Cilantro is often grown in sandy soil, so it is important to wash it thoroughly before using it. To clean cilantro, simply rinse it under cool running water and gently shake off any excess water. Then, place the cilantro on a clean kitchen towel and pat it dry.
How to Dry Cilantro
Drying cilantro is a great way to preserve it for later use. To dry cilantro, first wash and pat it dry, then place it on a baking sheet and let it air dry in a cool, dry place for several days. Alternatively, you can use a food dehydrator to dry the cilantro more quickly. Once the cilantro is completely dry, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
How to Cut Cilantro
Cutting cilantro correctly can be the difference between a flavorful dish and a lackluster one. Here’s a step-by-step guide to properly cutting cilantro:
- Rinse the cilantro leaves under running water and dry thoroughly.
- Gather a bunch of cilantro and chop off the bottom stems.
- Place the cilantro leaves on a cutting board and chop them into fine pieces.
- For a more finely chopped cilantro, use a sharp chef’s knife and rock the blade back and forth.
- If you need to chop large amounts of cilantro, you can use a food processor for a faster result. Just be careful not to over-process, as it can quickly turn into a paste.
How to Store Cilantro
Storing cilantro properly helps to extend its shelf life, preserving its freshness, flavor, aroma and texture. This not only makes it more enjoyable to use in your cooking, but also ensures that you are using a safe ingredient in your food. Proper storage also helps you save money as you won’t have to constantly replace spoiled cilantro, which can be expensive.
Storing Cilantro in the Refrigerator
The best method to store cilantro is to wrap it in a damp paper towel, place it in a plastic bag, and store it in the refrigerator. This will help keep the cilantro fresh for up to a week.
Storing Cliantro Fresh in a Jar
If you prefer, you can also store cilantro in a glass jar with a little bit of water, as you would with a bouquet of flowers. This will help keep the cilantro fresh for up to two weeks.
Can You Freeze Cilantro?
If you have a large amount of cilantro that you won’t use right away, you could consider freezing it. To freeze cilantro, simply chop it, place it in a plastic bag or an airtight container, and store it in the freezer. When you need cilantro for cooking, simply take a handful of frozen cilantro out of the freezer and let it thaw before using it in your recipe.
Another great option to store cilantro is to pickle cilantro, which involves packing the cilantro into jars and covering it with a vinegar-based brine. Below is a quick guide on how to pickle cilantro:
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 garlic clove
- Peppercorns (optional)
- Clean the cilantro and chop it into small pieces.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the white vinegar, water, sugar, salt, garlic, and peppercorns (if using). Heat the mixture over medium heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
- Pack the chopped cilantro into a sterilized jar.
- Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cilantro, making sure to completely cover it.
- Let the jar cool to room temperature, then place a lid on it and refrigerate it.
- The cilantro will be ready to use in 2-3 days and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Dehydrating cilantro is a great way to preserve the herb for a longer period of time, and it’s also a convenient way to have it on hand for later use. The dried cilantro can then be stored in an airtight container or used as a spice in recipes. Below is a quick guide on how to dehydrate cilantro:
- Clean and dry the cilantro thoroughly. Use a salad spinner or a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.
- Remove the leaves from the stems and chop into small pieces. The smaller the pieces, the faster they will dry.
- Spread the chopped cilantro evenly on a dehydrator tray, making sure that the pieces don’t overlap or touch.
- Dehydrate the cilantro at a low temperature (around 95°F) for 4-8 hours, or until completely dry and crispy. The drying time may vary depending on the size of the pieces and the humidity in the leaves
- Once the cilantro is fully dehydrated, remove it from the dehydrator and store it in an airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place, such as a pantry or cupboard, to maintain maximum freshness.
- o use the dehydrated cilantro, simply crumble it up and add it to your dishes. You can also grind it into a powder to use as a seasoning. Dehydrated cilantro will last for several months when stored properly.
Why Does an Egg Keep Cilantro Fresh?
The use of an egg to keep cilantro fresh is an old trick that has been passed down for generations. It’s a simple and effective way to extend the life of your cilantro and keep it fresh for longer. Here’s how it works:
- Find a clean and dry egg, preferably one that is not too large.
- Wrap the egg in a damp paper towel or cloth.
- Place the wrapped egg in a clean and airtight container with your bunch of cilantro.
- Put the container in the refrigerator and store as you would normally.
The idea behind using an egg to keep cilantro fresh is that it helps to regulate the humidity inside the container. The damp paper towel or cloth surrounding the egg will release moisture slowly into the container, helping to keep the cilantro hydrated and fresh.
Additionally, the eggshell contains calcium carbonate, which can absorb ethylene gas – the gas produced by fruits and vegetables that causes them to ripen and spoil. By absorbing this gas, the egg helps to slow down the ripening process and keep your cilantro fresh for a longer period of time.