I never seem to use an entire bunch of cilantro. I use a handful, throw it back into the fridge, then a week later run across a recipe that calls for it--and by then there's just a big black soggy mess in my veggie drawer. Does anyone know a good way to preserve it that retains the flavor?



luvcookbooks January 1, 2011
Whatever you don't use, you can make into a sofrito. Chop a bunch (or the remainder of a bunch), without the stems, add a chopped green pepper, a chopped onion, a couple cloves of garlic, and a little water. Whir it up in the blender. Freeze in an ice cube tray and then put into ziploc bags. Be sure to make rice and beans or asopao de pollo within the week so you can start the cycle again the next time you need to buy cilantro. :)
susan G. January 1, 2011
When we're on top of things, we make a cilantro chutney (many good recipes around), or an Asian pesto from Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. Then you can season with the cilantro and it keeps a long time.
My latest cilantro ah ha, for using the bunch in the plastic bag in the fridge, held like the florist holds cut flowers -- take out whole stems rather than cutting off that beautiful leafy top. It's those beheaded stems that start the slime on your pristine bunch. (In the fridge, damp bottoms, open on top -- we've tried many techniques and this works best; also, buy from a source with plenty of turnover and don't buy a weak bunch -- don't start with slime!)
Raquelita January 1, 2011
stick the stems in water, cover with an open plastic bag (upside-down). Not perfect, but less slime. However, why not just make a second cilantro recipe at the same time you make whatever you bought the cilantro for? It could be thrown into a garlicky/herby sauce or broth (Carribean or Southeast Asian flavors come to mind) and those can be forgotten about in the back of the fridge or freezer for a while. Cilantro/herb yogurt cheese (strain yogurt for 8 hours, mix in chopped cilantro and salt and pepper, chill) would also be a great use.
jeniferlang January 1, 2011
wash and dry the cilantro thoroughly - then mince it (by hand or in a food processor) - use as much as you need for your recipe, then spread the rest of it out on a paper towel, or a sheet of foil, or waxed paper - dry on top of your kitchen counter for a day or so and store in a small sealed plastic container - you'll have fresh cilantro for weeks that way [even though it's dried, it still tastes almost like fresh and is perfect for cooking] - this works for parsley too
RobertaJ December 31, 2010
I can usually keep a bunch of cilantro or parsley from sliming for about a week doing this: The day you get it home from the market, trim it and wash it. They need to be as fresh as possible for this to work.

The best way to get the leaves of is to hold the still-rubber banded base in your non-dominant hand and run the blade of your chef's knife along the bunch, towards the top. Think of it as giving the herbs a "haircut". For parsley, since the stems aren't so great, you'l still need to pick out the larger stems. For cilantro I usually don't bother.

Then rinse the leaves and dry them WELL. A salad spinner works, or rolling them up in a clean kitchen towel and letting them stay for a bit. They must be very dry. Then, and this seems counter-intuitive, but it works, at least for me, take a couple of sheets of paper towels, and lay them double. Dampen your hands, and sprinkle some water over the paper towels. You do *NOT* want them sopping wet, just barely damp. Put the herbs in the middle of the square of towels, and package them, almost like you're rolling a burrito or an egg roll. Then slip that into a zipper bag, and put it in the veggie drawer.

Depending upon how fresh the herbs were at the start (a big variable....), I've had them last up to 2 weeks this way.
lifestooshort December 31, 2010
These are all much better options that the plastic bag in the 'crisper'--many thanks! Verdigris and pierino, I would never have thought of putting it in water--seems so obvious now--great idea. bella s.f., I'm with you about wasting food. I must try to be more efficient about my menu planning. always040, freezing seems like a good option--I think Trader Joe's sells frozen cilantro cubes--but I've read that it loses its flavor. Have you tried this, and did you have good results? Thanks again, everyone!
bella S. December 31, 2010
Depending on where you live, cilantro can cost a lot more than 69 cents. Even if things don't cost a lot, I still do not like throwing them away. It bothers me on a few different levels. I have been experimenting lately with parsley and cilantro. I have been cutting a little bit of the ends off and putting the herbs, root end down, in a glass of water. Depending on where you live, you can leave the glass on the counter, or you can put the glass in the frig. I don't have consistent results. Sometimes the herbs look great for a couple of weeks, sometimes not. Something else to think about, is when buying a particular herb, line up an extra recipe or two that uses that herb. that way you use the herb up before it goes bad.
pierino December 31, 2010
As it only costs about 69 cents it's not the biggest loss in the world. But if you stick a jar out on your counter and fill it with enough water to cover the stems it will hold better than in the fridge. Same thing for parsley. Treat them like cut flowers.
Verdigris December 31, 2010
I find if I trim the ends of the stem so I can fit them into a one quart wide mouth Mason jar with lid and store the upright in the fridge, I get about two weeks useful life.
always040 December 31, 2010
You could always freeze it! I think this method sounds like a good plan: http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/tips-techniques/quick-tip-save-leftover-herbs-in-ice-cubes-054187. Water might also work - if its a small amount of water it shouldnt matter in a stovetop dish.
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