Cilantro (Coriander) is a great herb used as a staple for garnishing dishes in Indian, Asian, Mexican and Middle East countries. It adds a great flavor and aroma to your food and makes it look and taste absolutely delicious.
If you have your own garden-fresh cilantro (also called coriander) then you are probably already aware of the fact that the cilantro flavor fades with each hour after picking. So we have some 5 easy ways to store and freeze cilantro at home.
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Although it is usually just the leaves of the fresh cilantro plant that are used, the stems are edible as well. Freezing cilantro leaves is a great way to preserve the harvest and keep it fresh for later use. If not stored well cilantro leaves may turn black and when thawed are wet and limp. So the undermentioned ways will help you to keep them green and edible for a longer time.
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5 Methods to Store and Freeze Cilantro
Freeze Cilantro Leaves in a Bag
This method is the easier choice since you are simply placing the leaves in a bag and freezing. Once the cilantro is defrosted, the leaves won’t look great, so it is best to use the herb as an ingredient stirred into recipes rather than as a garnish with this method.
Instructions to Store Cilantro in a Bag
1. To start with wash the cilantro leaves thoroughly and be sure to get rid of all the dirt and small particles stuck to the plant.(Before chopping the coriander, you can blanch and freeze the coriander leaves.)
2. You can freeze the cilantro whole, or just freeze the leaves. You can also freeze the cilantro whole, and break off a few leaves whenever you need them.
3. Use paper towels to pat the cilantro dry. Strip the leaves from the stems and place them in freezer bags.
4. Push out as much air from the bags as possible and seal the zipper pouch tightly.
5. If you are storing other types of herbs in the freezer, it might be a good idea to write down “Cilantro” on the zipper bag with date, to keep a track.
6. Put the bag in the freezer and simply pop off the leaves as you want to use them.
Freezing Cilantro in Oil
Another great way of storing cilantro is by preserving it with olive oil. To do so,
1. Chop the cilantro finely and put it in the blender.
2. Pour half a cup of olive oil and turn the blender on. As soon as the coriander is chopped coarsely (Do not puree the coriander), remove it from the blender and place it in an air-tight container.
3. Once refrigerated, the olive oil and coriander mixture tends to stick together. To use it just spoon out the mixture and add it to soups or stews to add a burst of cilantro’s unique, fresh flavor.
Freezing Cilantro In Cubes
For this method, before the cilantro can be put into the ice cube tray, it needs to be pureed with a liquid.
1. Whirl the cilantro in a blender or food processor with enough water or olive oil to make a thick puree like pesto. The oil also acts as a barrier between the freezer and the delicate cilantro leaves.
2. Pour into a clean ice cube tray or small covered containers and place in the freezer.
3. Once frozen through, transfer the cilantro cubes to a resealable plastic bag for long-term storage— they will last in the freezer up to six months.
You can easily add the frozen cilantro ice cubes to curries, soups, chutneys (dip) and other delicacies.
Freezing Cilantro In Butter
1. Chop some cilantro and toss it into a bowl. You will need about 1 to 3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro per stick of butter.
2. Mix everything together until the cilantro is spread evenly throughout. You can use a spoon or spatula. Work quickly, so that the butter does not melt. Add more butter or cilantro if necessary.
3. Roll the butter in some parchment paper or foil. Scoop the butter onto a sheet of parchment paper, making sure that it is close to the edge. Shape it into a rough log shape with a spoon or spatula. Roll it up in the parchment paper.
4. Put the wrapped up butter into the refrigerator. Place the butter seam-side-down on a plate, and leave the place in the fridge until it hardens.
5. Once it hardens, move the butter to the freezer. To keep your freezer clean, keep the butter wrapped in parchment paper, and put it into a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container.
6. Be sure to write the date on the container or bag. This will help you remember when you made it so that you can use it before it goes bad.
Storing Cilantro In Water
Although it is usually just the leaves of the fresh cilantro plant that are used, the stems and roots are edible as well.
1. Place the fresh cilantro, place the stems (with roots intact if attached) in a glass of water and cover the top loosely with a plastic bag. Refrigerate.
2. Snip off leaves as you need them and re-cover. The water should be changed every 2 to 3 days.
3. Most importantly, do not wash the herb until you are ready to use it since excess moisture will turn the leaves to green slime during storage.
4. It should last up to a week in the refrigerator.
What are your favorite ways to preserve cilantro?