Home LifestyleAdvice How to Store Cilantro to Keep It Fresh & Flavorful: 7 Best Ways!

How to Store Cilantro to Keep It Fresh & Flavorful: 7 Best Ways!

By isha.m
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how to store cilantro

I knew I messed up when she said that it was not as good as she expected.

Damn! I thought I was doing it so perfectly.

Yes, I’m talking about my salad!

But who knew the cilantro would turn it upside down? After all, they weren’t fresh anymore and tasted like (you know the word).

The truth is, I was the one to blame, as I didn’t know how to store cilantro in the first place.

But I don’t want you to make the same mistake and enjoy fresh cilantro whenever you want. So, let’s explore the best ways to keep your cilantro fresh and well-stored at the same time.

Key Takeaways:
Always pick cilantro with bright green leaves and firm stems to store.
Cleaning the cilantro, wrapping it in a paper towel, and putting it in a dry drawer of the refrigerator is enough as an initial storage process.
You can store the cilantro for different durations, like 1-3 days, 1 week, 1 month, and even 6 months.
Freezing is the ideal method of storing cilantro for the longest period of time which is 6 months.
Cilantro is a good herb to use in food as it’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, helps in digestion, and controls sugar levels.

What is Cilantro, Exactly?

Think of a plant with bright green but flat leaves, giving you more of the vibe of tiny parsley umbrellas. Yes, that’s cilantro. Coriander—probably this name is more known to you than ‘cilantro’.

If you’re asking for something that can bless your food with a zesty flavor, this is your catch. So, when you’re making something like salsa, guacamole, or any other yummy soup, it’ll be incomplete without this herb.

It’s mostly used in Indian, Mexican, and Southeast Asian dishes. By the way, along with adding a boost to the taste, it provides tons of useful vitamins and minerals.

How to Pick the Best Bunch of Cilantro?

Who doesn’t want to have their hands on the best bunch of cilantro? I guess you’re on that list too.

But how do you grab that in the first place?

How to Pick the Best Bunch of Cilantro?
Photo by Andrés Giménez on Unsplash

Simple! By checking these things out next time you shop for this flavor booster:

Color

Check out if it comes in vibrant colors. Yes, I’m talking about the bright green color on the leaves and stems. If you see yellowish leaves on the bunch, skip it.

Firmness

The fresher it is, the gentler it’ll be to squeeze. So, if you’re not feeling the crispiness, you’re probably holding a limp or mushy bunch.

Zero Blemishes

Do you hate cilantro filled with insect damage? Then skip any bunch that has blemishes on it.

Aroma

It’s the smell that shouts about the freshness of the bunch. The moment you bring it closer to your nose, a slightly herbal, citrusy, but strong aroma will hit your nose. But that’s only when you’ve picked the fresh one.

Thinner Stems

Younger cilantro is always the best, and the stems being thinner with a bright green color is a sign of it. So, if the bunch is filled with thicker cilantro stems, which are also a bit brown, put it down.

How to Store Cilantro After Purchase?

The technique for storing fresh cilantro depends on how long you’re planning to store it.

So, let me ease things up a bit for you with different storage techniques to keep them fresh for different times.

How to Store Cilantro After Purchase?
How to Store Cilantro After Purchase?

Short-term Storage

When you want to keep cilantro leaves fresh for not more than 1 to 3 days, this is the technique you can try. All you have to do is follow these steps:

Step 1: Loosely Wrapping It

First of all, get rid of the rubber band the fresh herb is tied to. If there’s any other packaging, remove it too. Now wrap the cilantro in a damp paper towel.

Don’t forget to keep it loose. This will keep the moisture right on point without triggering the rotting.

Step 2: Store the Cilantro

Now grab the bunch gently and place it in the fridge. Thanks the colder temperature, it lowers the wilting rate and ultimately keeps the fresh cilantro leaves as they are for the next few days. However, make sure to keep it in the dryer drawer of your fridge.

Long-term Storage

Short-term is okay, but how do you store cilantro long-term and keep it fresh for weeks? If that’s what you’re more into, there are two methods for you to keep it fresh rather than just throwing the whole bunch for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Water Method

Get a jar and fill it up with an inch of water. A glass will also do the trick. Trim all the stems of the cilantro bunch and put them in there, similarly to a bouquet.

The water will help keep the leaves fresh. All you have to do is change the water in a few days. Otherwise, the cilantro can quickly wilt.

Freezing

Untie the bunch and wash it properly. Then, dry the cilantro thoroughly and chop it if you want. Later on, get a baking sheet and arrange the cilantro in a single layer.

Now put them in the fridge and freeze for at least 1-2 hours. Once the time has passed, put the cilantro in an airtight container. If that’s not available, feel free to use a freezer bag to bag and store.

Also, avoid placing them close to any strong-odor-based food if you want the cilantro fresh in the fridge.

Why Does Proper Storage Matter?

Okay, here’s the one-liner answer: to keep cilantro fresh. But I guess that answer is not good enough to satisfy you. So, here’s a pile of reasons why you need to store the cilantro properly.

Delicate Nature

Cilantro is one of the most delicate herbs you’ll find out there. Thanks to the thin stems and leaves, they wilt quite fast. So, when you store it properly, not only the flavor but also the color will stay perfect for a long time.

Moisture

Indeed, the right amount of moisture makes cilantro look fresh. But with too much of it, the cilantro will be limp in no time. So, even if you’re using a plastic bag and storing it properly, no moisture can get in and cause the cilantro to rot or spoil.

Preserving Flavor

When you return home from the grocery store with cilantro, the one thing you have in mind is making your food flavorful. But if you don’t know how to store them in the first place, you might not get that punch of flavor later on. After all, the wrong storing process will expose the herb to air, a strong odor, and the wrong temperature.

Saving Money

If you don’t want to throw your money in the trash, learn how to keep cilantro well-stored. After all, once you throw away the wilted or spoiled cilantro, you’ll have to get it again, and that’s not going to come for free.

Avoiding Health Risks

You don’t want to have a bite of cilantro filled with bacteria, do you? So, you need to learn how to store it properly, as that will save the herb from bacteria, keeping it fresh and healthy.

How to Clean Cilantro?

When was the last time you stored unwashed cilantro? I guess never. But are you cleaning it the right way? Well, no problem. If you’re following these steps, you’re on the right track:

How to Clean Cilantro?
How to Clean Cilantro?
  • Step 1: Check the bunch and trim off any yellow or wilted leaves from it.
  • Step 2: Drop the unwashed cilantro in a single bowl filled with cold water and gently wash off any dirt you see.
  • Step 3: Throw the dirty water away and refill the bowl. Wash the herb again and repeat the process 2-3 times. Keep doing it till the water runs clear.
  • Step 4: Once the final rinsing is done, put the cilantro in a colander so that the excess water can drop off. Check the cilantro one final time and look for any remaining dirt.
  • Step 5: If you’re thinking of using cilantro instantly, use a paper towel to dry it off. But if excessive moisture remains on it, change the paper towel and try again.

Additional Tips:

  • You can use a toothbrush to clean off the dirt.
  • If you’re seeing too much grit in the water, use some white vinegar in the water for the final rinsing. This will loosen up the dirt.
  • Avoid using any soap to wash it, unless you want your cilantro to taste like soap.

How to Dry Cilantro?

It’s nothing but a bad idea to store wet cilantro. So, drying it is a must before you put the cilantro in the refrigerator or store it another way. Here are three quick methods of drying cilantro you can try without putting too much work into it:

Air Drying

  • Wash the cilantro thoroughly and clean off any dirt from it. Make sure all the water drops are gone from it.
  • Cut cilantro leaves from the stems and spread them on a paper towel.
  • Keep it in a dark and cool place. Turn it occasionally for better drying.
  • Store it in an airtight container.

Oven Drying

  • Preheat your oven to the lowest setting.
  • Wash the cilantro and remove the leaves after initial drying.
  • Spread the leaves on a baking sheet and let them bake for 30–45 minutes.
  • Cool them off and store them in an airtight container.

6 Easy Steps to Store Cilantro

Lots of us still store cilantro in the refrigerator without even knowing that it can go bad. But when you know the right way to store cilantro, I bet you can keep it usable for a month and sometimes even longer.

Now the question is: which ones are the best methods for storing cilantro? Well, let me help you out with the most common and useful one first:

  • Step 1: Remove all the yellow and wilted leaves and rinse the cilantro under running water.
  • Step 2: Dry it up and place the cilantro in an airtight container. You can use a plastic bag as well. But make sure it’s lined with a paper towel, whether you’re using a container or a bag.
  • Step 3: Squeezing out the excessive air before you seal the container is a must. So do it.
  • Step 4: Put the container in a dryer drawer, as that will make the cilantro stay fresh for longer.
  • Step 5: Check regularly (within a few days) if any moisture buildup is taking place. If it is, change the paper towel.
  • Step 6: Get the container out within 1-2 weeks and use cilantro as a garnish or on any other food.

7 Best Ways to Store Cilantro and Keep it Fresh

Didn’t I just tell you about the above? No! That was just the regular one.

Here are tons of other ways to keep fresh cilantro fresh for a longer time:

Refrigerator Storage

Isn’t what comes to your mind first? But there are two different methods to do that as well.

Paper towel Method

  • Don’t wash the herb, and use damp paper towels to wrap the bunch, as that will help keep the cilantro from getting extra moisture.
  • Put the wrapped bunch in a plastic bag where you can create the humid environment it needs.
  • Store it in a dryer and in the coolest place in the fridge.

Water Method

  • Fill the jar up to 1 inch with cold water and put the cilantro bunch in there in an upright position. Make sure you’re trimming the stems first.
  • Use a plastic bag to cover the jar and create humidity within.
  • Put the jar in the dryer drawer of the fridge.
  • Change the water every 2-3 days to prevent bacteria.

Store in the Fridge Without Washing

It’s not among my personal favorites, but it’s still one of the most effective ways to store this herb.

  • Wrap the unwashed cilantro with damp paper towels and let the extra moisture go away.
  • Get a clean plastic bag and put the cilantro in it.
  • Place them in the crispiest drawer of your fridge.

Freezing Cilantro

Yes, it’s true that freezing cilantro will keep it usable for a long time. So, if you’re thinking about storing cilantro for months, here are two methods you can note down:

Freezing Cilantro
Freezing Cilantro

Freezing Whole Bunch

  • Wash the herb, but do it briefly, and dry it up with a paper towel. After that, get rid of wilted and yellow leaves.
  • Put it all in a zip-top freezer bag. Make sure you’re getting all the air out before you seal it.
  • Place the bag in the freezer.

Ice Cubing

  • Wash the herb like the earlier method and chop all the leaves thoroughly.
  • Fill ice cube trays with the chopped cilantro. Don’t forget to leave some space at the top.
  • To keep the flavor stronger, you can add some water or olive oil to the cubes.
  • Put the cube in the freezer and keep it there till all the cubes become solid.

Drying Cilantro

Sometimes I get amazed thinking that even drying the cilantro can boost its shelf life. So, if you’re thinking about something like that, try these two methods.

Drying Cilantro
Drying Cilantro

Air Drying Method

  • Clean off the dirt with proper washing, and make sure water drops are left on the cilantro.
  • Detach the leaves from the stems and spread them over a paper towel.
  • Find a dark and cool place, put it there, and turn the leaves occasionally to dry better.
  • Once it’s fully dry, store it in an airtight container.

Oven Drying Method

  • Heat the oven to its lowest setting.
  • Remove the leaves of your washed cilantro. Make sure the initial drying is done first.
  • Bake the leaves for 30–45 minutes after spreading them on a baking sheet.
  • Once they’re cooled down, put them in an airtight container.

Store in the Fridge in a Mason Jar

To be honest, I love Mason jars. So, when someone asks me about storing cilantro in a mason jar, I tell them to follow these steps.

  • Remove the dirt and debris with a brief wash, and pat the cilantro with a paper towel.
  • Trim the long stems, but not more than 1-2 inches. Otherwise, you won’t be able to fit the cilantro in the jar.
  • Put a few layers of paper towels at the bottom of your jar to absorb the extra moisture there.
  • Place the cilantro in the jar in an upright position, similar to a bouquet. But don’t overcrowd the jar.
  • Pour water till it reaches at least 1-2 inches of the stem from below.
  • Put the lid on, but keep it loose so that some air can slip in to hold the moisture.
  • Place the jar in the dry drawer of the refrigerator.

Store Whole Cilantro in the Fridge

No, I’m not going to explain the whole process again, as this one is pretty much the same as the ones I’ve mentioned above.

And yes, you can store the whole cilantro in the fridge. There’s no problem with that.

But for that, I’d suggest you apply the paper towel method. You can also use the water method if you want freshness for a longer period of time.

Store Chopped Cilantro in the Fridge

There’s no problem with storing chopped cilantro in the fridge. For this, you can use the paper towel method if you prefer keeping it simple but versatile. But to keep the freshness intact for a longer period, nothing can beat the airtight container method.

Tips for Extending Cilantro’s Shelf Life

Clearly, you’re not in the mood to waste your cilantro. This means that extending its shelf life has no alternative. So, here are some tips if you really want your cilantro to have a longer shelf life:

Tip 1: Select Wisely

Pick bunches that come with bright green leaves and firm stems. Make sure it doesn’t have any yellow or wilted leaves. Skip bunches with excessive moisture. 

And only get the bunch that has roots attached to it. This type of cilantro is fresher and lasts longer.

Tip 2: Handle Carefully

Try to avoid bruising the cilantro while handling it. Make sure you’re storing it away from the heat and direct sunlight. After all, these two will boost the wilting. Also, avoid excessive washing, as that can ruin the waxy coating.

Tip 3: Proper Storage Tricks

If you want to keep bacteria out of the picture, sprinkle some drops of lemon juice on the paper towel before you wrap your cilantro with it. Vinegar will also do the trick if you’re out of lemons. And to keep the herb in its best condition, put it around other moisture-loving veggies.

Yes, I’m talking about cucumbers, celery, and similar ones. These vegetables will create a microclimate that retains humidity.

Benefits of Cilantro

No, it’s not just the boost of flavor that makes you fall in love with cilantro. There are tons of other reasons why I prefer using this flavor booster.

Benefits of Cilantro
Benefits of Cilantro

Antioxidants

Calling cilantro a pile of antioxidants won’t be wrong. It comes with not only vitamin C but also quercetin and beta-carotene, which give your cells protection from damage triggered by free radicals.

And if you’re worried about chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, this herb can lower the chance of that as well.

Supporting Heart Health

According to some studies, cilantro is helpful in lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. All credit goes to the flavonoids that come with the herb.

Easing Digestion

I don’t know how much you hate digestive discomforts like gas and bloating. 

But if you’ve been eating cilantro lately, that discomfort shouldn’t bother you that easily.

As the herb can potentially stimulate digestive enzyme production, breaking down food becomes much easier.

Detoxification and Blood Sugar Control

Not only can cilantro help your body with detoxification, but it can also support healthy liver function. On top of that, this herb has essential anti-inflammatory properties and helps regulate blood sugar levels to a great extent. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Along with making your food taste good, cilantro makes sure your body gets a bunch of useful vitamins and minerals. Such as vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and manganese.

Final Words

So, here it is – the ending!I know you came here just to know how to store cilantro. But I hope this blog has given you every piece of information that you need to know on how to pick the best bunch of cilantro or how to store cilantro after purchase.

I’ve also mentioned the benefits of cilantro so that you don’t have to think twice before putting it in your shopping cart. Hopefully, from now on, you won’t spoil your salad with limp cilantro like I did.
Happy Cilantro-keeping!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Will Cilantro Last in the Fridge?

If you’re storing it unwashed but wrapped, cilantro will stay good for 3-4 days. But if you wrap and cover the cilantro with a paper towel and bag, it’ll be good for 1-2 weeks longer in the fridge. But if you’re making cilantro cubes, they can stay good for months.

Should I Wash Cilantro Before Storing?

There’s no problem with washing the cilantro before storing it. But make sure you’re drying it thoroughly before storing it, as the excess moisture can turn it into rotten or bad cilantro.

Can I Freeze Cilantro?

Indeed, you can. This is actually a great way to extend the shelf life of this herb. But for that, it’s better to use chopped leaves or turn them into cilantro cubes with ice cube trays. This way, it’s possible to keep the flavors of cilantro intact for up to 6 months.

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