freeze cilantro

Can You Freeze Cilantro?

Cilantro (also known as Chinese parsley or coriander) is a leafy herb widely used as an ingredient and garnish in Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican recipes.

Most of the time, a recipe only calls for a few leaves. Unless you are preparing a large batch of salsa or chutney, you will need to deal with some leftovers.

So, how do you keep cilantro from going bad? Can you freeze cilantro for later use?

If you are curious about the right way to store and freeze cilantro, keep on reading. This article shares the ultimate guide to preserve this aromatic herb for as long as possible.

How To Store Cilantro In The Refrigerator

Fresh leafy herbs like cilantro and parsley tend to wilt pretty quickly if not stored properly.

To start with, you should always pick the freshest bunch available. Discard any leaves that look wilted, discolored, or decayed.

Here are two simple methods to keep cilantro fresh as long as possible in the fridge. The tips below also work for other fresh leafy herbs such as basil, parsley, and mint.

Method 1: Wrapped in Paper Towels

  • 1. Select a fresh bunch with bright green leaves. Remove any bruised or decayed leaves.
  • 2. No need to wash before storing them.
  • 3. If the leaves are wet, don’t forget to dry them thoroughly with a paper towel.
  • 4. Divide the leaves into some smaller bunches.
  • 5. Prepare a paper towel and spread the bunches on it. Leave a space between bunches.
  • 6. Gently fold the paper towel from one side to the end to wrap the leaves. Try not to squeeze them to prevent them from bruising.
  • 7. Pack the wrapped leaves in a resealable bag.
  • 8. Suck out as much air as possible.
  • 9. Seal tightly and refrigerate.

Alternatively, you can also keep cilantro in an airtight container. Line the bottom of a container with a paper towel, stack the leaves loosely, cover with another paper towel, seal it tightly, and refrigerate.

Method 2: In a Glass of Water

This method is similar to how you keep a bouquet of flowers.

  • 1. Choose the freshest bunch of leaves. Remove the rubber band (if any).
  • 2. Prepare a glass or a jar filled with an inch of water.
  • 3. Place the bunch in the glass.
  • 4. Loosely cover it with a plastic bag and refrigerate.

Properly refrigerated with either method, cilantro keeps fresh for at least two weeks. If you can’t use up the herb before it goes limp, try freezing it. Check our tips below.

How To Freeze Cilantro

Just a word of caution, the frozen cilantro won’t be as versatile as the fresh one. If you plan to use it for garnish or salad, the frozen version is not your best choice.

Frozen cilantro is more suitable for cooked recipes, such as in soup, stews, or sauces. If you have those menus regularly, having enough stock of frozen cilantro always comes in handy.

You can freeze the leaves in a few different ways. Let’s start with how to prepare them for freezing.

Prepping Cilantro for Freezing

First thing first, we need to select the freshest bunch available. Cut the stem and rinse the leaves thoroughly. Make sure to get rid of any dirt and debris. Drain the excess water and pat them dry with a paper towel. Try not to squeeze the leaves too much, or they will bruise quickly.

Freezing Cilantro in a Bag

Freezing cilantro can’t be more simple and straightforward than this method.

After cleaning, trimming, and drying the leaves, simply bag them in a freezer bag. Suck out as much air as possible from the pack, seal tightly, and stash it in the freezer. Done.

If you plan to freeze the leaves longer than 2 to 3 months, consider blanching them before freezing. Blanching deactivates enzymes that cause loss of flavor and color.

Freezing Chopped Cilantro in Ice Cube Trays (with water or oil)

  • 1. Chop the prepped leaves or use a food processor.
  • 2. Prepare ice cube trays and fill halfway up of each cube with water or oil.
  • 3. Add chopped leaves.
  • 4. Flash freeze for a few hours until completely solid.
  • 5. Pack frozen cubes in a freezer bag.
  • 6. Expel excess air from the bag and seal tightly.
  • 7. Write the freezing date on the package and pop it in the freezer.

Freezing Cilantro in Butter

Herbs-infused butter is packed with flavor and makes a quick and delicious spread for your breakfast. Plus, it is also an excellent way to use up your herb supply, including cilantro. Here is how you can freeze cilantro in butter.

  • 1. Finely chop the prepped leaves. You can also add other herbs, salt, and ingredients if you prefer.
  • 2. Cut butter into smaller blocks.
  • 3. Mixed chopped parsley and butter using a spoon or a spatula.
  • 4. Roll the butter in parchment paper or aluminum foil and refrigerate.
  • 5. Once the butter hardens, pack it in a freezer bag.
  • 6. Suck out excess air, seal tightly, and freeze.

Thawing and Using Frozen Cilantro

While the fresh leaves make any dishes look more appetizing, this is not the case with frozen cilantro. The frozen leaves become limp and wet after thawing. Thus, it is more suitable for cooking recipes than in salad, garnish, guacamole, or salsa.

That being said, you can simply add the frozen herb to the pan and let it soften up while cooking. No thawing is necessary.

If you need to thaw it, simply pull it out from the freezer and leave it on the counter. Let it soften up while you are preparing other ingredients.

For cilantro butter, bring it to room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

How Long Can You Freeze Cilantro?

Frozen cilantro is best to use within 4 to 6 months after freezing. When frozen in butter, try to use it within a month. After putting it in the fridge, use it within 4 to 5 days.


FAQs

Should I wash cilantro before storing it?

No. Unless the leaves are too dirty, no need to wash them before storage in the fridge. It is best to wash them shortly before using them.

What can I do with too much cilantro?

Cilantro has so many applications in cooking recipes. There are plenty of delicious ways to use up the green herb, such as in curries, scrambled eggs,  salad, guacamole, chutney, salsa, even in cocktails!

Is wilted cilantro still good?

Fresh leafy herbs such as cilantro go limp pretty quickly without proper storage. Luckily, you can easily revive the leaves by soaking them in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes until they look plump and fresh again.

Summary

Freezing cilantro is undoubtedly a no-brainer way to preserve the aromatic herb before it goes bad.

You can freeze cilantro in a bag, in ice cube trays (with water or oil), or mixed with butter. This way, you will always have the herb ready anytime you need it!

See more: Parsley vs Cilantro

frozen cilantro

*image by cellar-door/depositphotos

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