Everyone knows that you MUST buy cilantro fresh. The problem is, it often ends up a soggy mess in your crisper long before you can use it all up. But there is a way to keep it fresh for WEEKS! P.S. it works for Parsley too!
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Cilantro is the herb that everyone loves to hate. Except for those who don’t. There are few things in this world that are black and white. Cilantro? Cilantro is one of those things.
There are two camps of people: those who LOVE cilantro, and those who hate it with a fiery burning passion. Me? I’m in the love crew. I’m absolutely obsessed with cilantro (see my IP Cilantro Lime Rice as proof), and I can’t get enough of the stuff. One thing that all cilantro lovers definitely agree on is: Cilantro MUST be fresh.
Even for a cilantro lover such as myself, dried just won’t do when it comes to the herby green stuff. I want those fresh, cool, crisp leaves chopped and sprinkled all over my burrito bowl. And yes, it makes a difference. For me, salsa is just not salsa without cilantro. A burrito bowl is just not a burrito bowl without my favorite spring herb.
That’s all well and good, since it is available mostly year round in my local small town grocery store. The problem is: It doesn’t stay fresh for long. Since a little goes a long way with cilantro, I would never dream of using an entire bunch of cilantro in my meal. I also can’t stand seeing food go to waste. I knew there had to be a better way.
A Problem, Then a Solution
While watching The Bite Shot videos (to help improve my photography skills), I learned a cool trick about keeping cilantro and parsley fresh! I was shocked, and naturally? Skeptical.
So I went out and bought a bunch of each since I needed them for garnish for my recipes. And to my surprise? IT WORKED! I was so overjoyed, because now I could have fresh cilantro for WEEKS without planning ahead. Now I just buy my beloved bunches of parsley and cilantro, knowing that I can get at least 3 weeks (and often more) out of them by using this super awesome (and super easy) method of keeping cilantro (and parsley) fresh!
What Is the Best Way to Keep Cilantro Fresh?
So I’m guessing I have you at the edge of your chair, screaming “OKAY! Enough! Tell me how to keep cilantro fresh!” Okay! I’m a little long winded but I’m getting to it!
Here it is: The BEST way to keep cilantro fresh is by storing it in the fridge.
But you say, “I’ve already tried that! It doesn’t work!”
Well, yes it does, but we need to modify our methods a little. No, keeping your bundle of cilantro in the crisper or anywhere else isn’t going to keep it fresh for very long, but I promise I have a solution.
How to Keep Cilantro Fresh in the Fridge
You’re going to need a glass jar or cup, and a produce bag from the grocery store. I often use the very produce bag I used to bring my cilantro home, but if you don’t have one of those you can use a clear plastic freezer or storage bag.
The plastic bag traps in the moisture, making a little zone that is perfect for keeping cilantro and parsley fresh. This results in a humid, cold “climate” if you will, which is the exact growing conditions that cilantro and parsley enjoy. When we replicate the growing conditions of herbs, we often end up with a longer lasting product.
Step by Step: Keeping Cilantro Fresh
Step One: Add Water to a Glass Jar
Fill a pint sized jar 2/3 to 3/4 of the way with clean, drinking quality water. I like to use your standard mason jars. I strongly suggest you use glass to keep cilantro fresh. Since your cilantro will be in the jar for possibly 3 weeks or longer, you want to ensure you don’t leach any plastics into the water, or any cilantro into the plastics. Who wants a cilantro-flavored glass of milk? 😝
Step Two: Remove the Label
Most bunches of cilantro come with a twist tie style label, or a rubber band of some sort. Remove this label or whatever is keeping the bunch together. Since it will be soaking in water, it’s not suitable to leave it on. The narrow opening of the jar will keep the bunch relatively compact, so no need to worry.
Make sure you have purchased a fresh bunch of cilantro that has no wilting or soggy spots. If you want your cilantro to last a long time in the fridge, you need to start out with a quality product.
Step Three: Add the Cilantro to the Jar
Once your bunch is prepped and you have water in the jar, you can carefully add your herbs to the jar. Try to keep them together in the original bunch shape, as this will make it easier on you as you’re making it all fit.
Step Four: Cover with Plastic
We are using plastic in particular here because it keeps the moisture in and the humidity up, while still allowing excess moisture to escape. I like to use the produce bag from the grocery store, but you can use a plastic storage or freezer bag too if you prefer!
Step Five: Tuck and Store
Tuck the plastic around the jar, not tightly, but enough that every stem is well covered. Place this in your fridge in a place it won’t get bumped often (we don’t want water spills) and take it out when you need a little springy zip of awesome. When you’re done with your cilantro, cover it and place it back in the fridge. Mine keeps VERY fresh for 3 weeks, and I would use it up to 5 or 6 weeks. I think that varies with your particular refrigerator and how fresh it was when you bought it.
Bonus: Preserving Basil:
I love love love the method linked below for preserving Basil in the fridge. While basil is best when it is fresh, this is a great stand in through the winter months if you grow your own basil plants.
Preserving Fresh Basil – Red Head Can Decorate