Cilantro is a versatile herb that is used in many recipes but it is particularly prominent in Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian, and Mexican dishes. Unfortunately, cilantro does not remain fresh for long.
In fact, after 3 to 4 days of being stored in a bag in the refrigerator, it is likely to turn mushy. As the majority of recipes typically call for the use of a small amount of cilantro, you will likely find that you are wasting more than you are using.
If this is the case, you may not be looking for alternative ways to store your cilantro so that it lasts for longer.
Below, we have identified multiple storage methods that will ensure that your cilantro lasts for a decent length of time before beginning to deteriorate.
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Method 1: Refrigerating the cilantro in water
This first method is expected to retain the freshness of your cilantro for around 2 to 3 weeks. To begin, you will need to fill a glass with water until it is around 3/4 full. You will also need to cut around 1 inch off the bottom of the cilantro stem.
Next, take your cilantro and insert it into the glass of water. You don’t need to completely submerge the cilantro, just ensure that the stems are covered and the leaves are facing upwards.
Take a plastic bag and loosely secure it around the cilantro using a rubber band to keep it in place. You can now put the covered jar into your refrigerator.
The longer the jar is in the refrigerator, the more likely the water is to discolor, because of this, you will need to change it regularly upon noticing that it has turned slightly brown.
Cilantro requires freshwater, so failing to change it will shorten the length of time that it lasts.
You can then use your cilantro as and when required. Simply remove the jar from your refrigerator, take as much as you need and then put it back in.
After the 2 weeks have passed you will need to check the state of your cilantro to see whether it is still fresh.
A change in the color of the leaves will indicate that the cilantro has started to deteriorate. You may also notice that it is starting to emit a rather unpleasant smell.
Method 2: Paper towel and airtight container or plastic bag
This second method involves the use of paper towel and an airtight container or a plastic bag. First, you will need to separate your cilantro into smaller bunches before laying it onto some paper towel, ensuring that you leave some space between the bunches.
Next, you will need to fold the paper towel making sure that you don’t apply too much pressure or squeeze it as this will affect the quality of the cilantro. Finally, you will need to insert the paper towel into a ziplock bag getting rid of as much air as possible.
If you are using an airtight container, the method is fairly similar. Take some paper towel and then layer it on the bottom of the container, ensuring that the sides are covered too.
Then you will need to put the cilantro leaves onto the paper towel. Once you have added all of your cilantro, you can then cover it using another sheet of paper towel.
If you are likely to be stacking multiple layers of the cilantro, ensure that you separate it with sheets of paper towel. Furthermore, you will also need to avoid packing too much cilantro into one container.
When you need to use your cilantro, you can remove the container or bag from the refrigerator, take as much as you need, seal the bag or container properly and then put it back in the fridge.
Cilantro that is stored inside a zip lock bag is likely to last for around 2 to 3 weeks, whilst cilantro that has been stored in an airtight container should last for around 4 weeks.
Method 3: Freezing cilantro
Another option is to freeze the cilantro and you can do this using freezer bags or an ice cube tray. Begin by washing the sprigs of the cilantro, then use a paper towel to dry the leaves.
You will need to make sure that the cilantro is thoroughly dry, however, avoid handling it too harshly as doing so can damage the leaves.
If you are going to be freezing it inside a freezer bag, we would recommend placing the leaves onto a baking tray before putting them into the freezer for approximately 30 minutes to make them firmer.
This will stop the leaves from sticking together once they have been added to the bag.
Once the 30 minutes have passed, you can then remove the tray and put the leaves into the bag. Remove the air from the bag, seal it and then put the cilantro back into the freezer. Cilantro that is frozen this way is expected to last for at least 1 month.
To freeze the cilantro in an ice cube tray, first, you will need to blend it with a few tablespoons of water as this will create a pureed consistency. If you don’t have a blender, you can chop the cilantro into small pieces.
Once you have either blended or chopped the cilantro, you can add it to ice cube trays and put it into the freezer. Those who chopped the cilantro will need to add water to the cubes before putting the tray into the freezer.
Cilantro that has been frozen inside an ice cube tray should last for around 2 months.
As you can see, Cilantro can be stored in multiple ways. It is important to remember that depending on the method you follow, cilantro shouldn’t be washed, but if you do, you will need to dry it thoroughly before putting it into a storage container or bag.
Also, be careful when handling the cilantro because there is a risk of the leaves bruising or breaking.