Cilantro is that fresh, spicy and nutty herb commonly used in Mexican dishes like guacamole, salsa, and tacos. I love adding it to my soups and salads. It gives food such a distinct, fresh, bold flavor that I can’t get enough of.
How Long Does Cilantro Last?
But because cilantro is fresh, it’s hard to keep it around for long. You’ve got to use it pretty quickly or else it will go bad.
If you store cilantro in the fridge, it will keep fresh for a good 7-10 days. You’ll know it has gone bad when it changes in color, becomes soft, and smells weird. When that happens, don’t even bother using it, just throw it out.
How to Keep Cilantro Fresh?
Recipes often only call for a little bit of cilantro, so it’s not like you can use it in bulk. While it’s usually very affordable, I still hate when it (or any food, for that matter) goes to waste. But did you know there are a few techniques to make cilantro last longer than usual?
The key to keeping cilantro fresh is proper storage. Want to have crisp and green cilantro for weeks? Keep reading to find out more!
How to Store Cilantro
There are several ways to store cilantro so that it stays fresh longer. Save your herb (and money) by following any of these methods:
Flower Vase Method
Cilantro is, after all, a plant, so it makes sense to store it like you would with cut flowers. Here’s how:
Prepare your cilantro leaves by rinsing them and patting them dry with a paper towel. Then trim off the bottom 2 inches of the stem.
Next, fill a mason jar or glass ¾ of the way with water. Place the cilantro in the jar, just like you would a bouquet of flowers in a vase. Then cover the cilantro with a plastic bag. Doing so will prevent the cilantro from absorbing other flavors from its surroundings. It will also prevent the cilantro from losing too much moisture.
Place the glass in the fridge; the cilantro will wilt if you keep it on the counter. The water will start to brown in a few days, so be sure to drain and replace it every so often.
This method will keep your cilantro fresh and crisp for a month!
Here’s some trivia for you: the plant that cilantro leaves grow from is called coriander. That’s why many people confuse these two!
Paper Towel Method
This next technique will make your cilantro last for up to two weeks. If you don’t intend to keep your cilantro much longer than that, then this is the perfect method for you.
Don’t wash the cilantro leaves beforehand, just pat them dry with a paper towel to get rid of moisture. Then roll the leaves tightly with a fresh paper towel (not the same one you used to dry them).
Place the cilantro in an airtight container. You can use a Ziploc bag – but be sure to squeeze out any air before sealing it.
Whenever you take out the cilantro for use, be sure to trim off wilted leaves before rolling it back in the paper towel. If you don’t, it will cause other leaves to wilt as well.
Freezing Method Number 1
Start by rinsing the cilantro in cold water. Be sure to wash grit, dust, and dirt off the leaves. Dry the leaves thoroughly by giving it a spin on your salad spinner. Then pat them dry with a paper towel.
Next, remove the leaves from the stems.
Then create a “double bag” by placing one freezer-safe bag inside another.
Place the stems in the outer bag and the leaves in the inner bag.
Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bags and seal. Freeze the double bag for up to 4-6 months.
When you defrost the leaves, though, don’t expect the same crispness and vibrancy as fresh cilantro. But these leaves will still work well in Mexican dishes such as tacos and guacamole. The stems will also make great additions to stews and soups.
Freezing Method Number 2
In this method, you will freeze cilantro leaves into cubes. These are great additions to flavor soups and stews!
To make cilantro cubes, you first need to puree the leaves. In a blender, place cilantro, olive oil, and water and pulse until you get a thick puree.
Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the cubes in a Ziploc bag for permanent storage. These guys will survive up to 6 months in the freezer.