Did you know a particular genetic factor in certain people makes cilantro taste like soap to them?

So, if someone in your family absolutely hates cilantro, blame it on the genes. For others, cilantro is an herb they just cannot live without. The crunchy and aromatic leaves of cilantro are used heartily as a dressing and a prominent ingredient in Mexican and Asian cuisine.

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However, the tender, green leaves can quickly lose their moisture and wilt, even when stored in the refrigerator. On the other hand, exposure to excessive moisture can turn cilantro mushy and promote rotting. Hence, once uprooted, it can be a challenge to maintain just the right environment for cilantro to stay fresh.

As beautiful and tempting it may seem in the farmer’s market, most of us use just one-fourth of what we buy and throw the rest in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Days later, we find the rotten remains in the bag and end up regretting having bought so much in the first place.

how to store cilantro
Read on to discover amazing DIY hacks to store fresh cilantro

But storing cilantro is fairly simple. If done right, you can store your stock up to 1 year. No kidding!

Cilantro can be frozen in multiple ways to retain its flavor or dehydrated to use as a seasoning. On the other hand, if you want to use its fresh crispy leaves, certain hacks can help extend the shelf life as well.

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Here are some useful hacks to store fresh cilantro for up to 1 year.

Note: Always choose the freshest bunch you can find in the market. Also, go for bunches that have dark-colored leaves, as they will be the most crunchy and packed with flavor.

# Frozen

Method 1: Using a Ziplock Bag

If you wish to store fresh cilantro for months, then freezing is your best bet. While the freezing cold temperature may not be able to hold the crisp texture of cilantro leaves, it will surely preserve the herby flavor.

You can either freeze the bunch whole for 1 to 2 months or freeze the leaves chopped or pureed in an ice cube tray for up to 6 months.

Things you’ll need:

things needed to store cilantro by using a ziplock bag

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  • Cilantro
  • Paper towel
  • Ziplock bag

Step 1. Wash the cilantro with warm water & chop off the roots

wash and chop to store cilantro
Wash the cilantro sprigs with warm water and snip off the roots
  • Wash the bunch of cilantro under warm running water. If in a pinch, warm water will help kill the bacteria and slow the enzymes responsible for causing the leaves to rot.
  • Snip off the roots and the thick stems.

Step 2. Soak up the excess moisture with a paper towel

spread on a paper towel to store cilantro
Spread out the cilantro leaves on a paper towel to get rid of the moisture
  • Place the cilantro on a paper towel and spread out the leaves.
  • Fold the sides of the towel over the cilantro to soak up any excess moisture.

Step 3. Seal the cilantro in a ziplock bag & freeze it

seal in a ziplock bag to store cilantro
Put the leaves in a ziplock bag and then seal
  • Push the leaves into a small- or medium-sized ziplock bag.
  • Squeeze out all the air from the bag and seal it.
  • Place the cilantro in your freezer until needed.

To use, simply take some of the cilantro out and reseal the bag. Do not thaw the leaves, as they will turn mushy. Add them directly to your dishes.

Cilantro stored this way should stay good for 1 to 2 months.

Method 2: Using an Ice Cube Tray

If you don’t need to use cilantro as a garnish but rather to enhance the flavor of your dish, you can freeze it whole in oil or puree it and then freeze it in an ice cube tray. Frozen cilantro will stay good for up to 6 months.

# Whole with Oil

When chopped and frozen in olive oil, the oil works as a barrier to protect the cilantro leaves from the cold temperature and blasts of air in the freezer.

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Things you’ll need:

things needed to store cilantro with olive oil

  • Cilantro
  • Olive oil
  • Ice cube tray

Step 1. Separate the leaves from the sprigs & put them in an ice cube tray

place the separated leaves in an ice cube tray to store cilantro
Manually separate the leaves and place them in an ice cube tray
  • Clean and pat dry your cilantro bunch. Chop off the thick stems and roots.
  • Manually, separate the cilantro leaves from the individual sprigs.
  • Collect all the leaves in a bowl.
  • Fill each cube of the ice cube tray with cilantro leaves.

Step 2. Add olive oil & freeze it

freeze in olive oil to store cilantro
Pour in olive oil and freeze to store cilantro
  • Pour about 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil in each section of the ice cube tray. If needed, press in the leaves a little with a spoon.
  • Pop the tray into the freezer for 3 to 4 hours to let the oil freeze solid.
  • Once completely frozen, you can pop out the cilantro cubes and store them in a ziplock bag to free up some space in your freezer.
  • Add 1 or 2 cubes to your dishes to add in the earthy aroma of cilantro and the richness of olive oil.

Cilantro stored this way will stay good for 6 months.

# Pureed

Cilantro can also be pureed and then frozen into solid cubes. You can add the cubes directly to your soups and stews for a fresh burst of flavor. 

Things you’ll need:

things needed to store cilantro using an ice cube tray

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  • Cilantro leaves (washed and separated from the stems)
  • Water
  • Ice cube tray

Step 1. Puree the cilantro leaves in a blender

puree the separated leaves to store cilantro
Add the separated cilantro leaves to a blender and puree
  • Put the separated cilantro leaves in the blender jar.
  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to blend the leaves easily.
  • Pulse on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Pause every 30 seconds to check the consistency. Continue pulsing until you get a fine puree.

Step 2. Put the puree in the ice cube tray & freeze it

freeze the puree to store cilantro
Pour out the puree into the compartments of an ice cube tray and freeze
  • Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pureed cilantro in each section of the ice cube tray.
  • Pop the tray into the freezer for 3 to 4 hours to let the cilantro freeze into solid cubes.
  • You can leave the cilantro in the ice cube tray, or put the cubes in a ziplock bag to save storage space.

Cilantro stored in pureed form will stay good for up to 6 months.

# Refrigerated

If you like your cilantro crisp and fresh, it’s best to refrigerate rather than freeze it. However, the shelf life will be much shorter compared to the frozen options. Cilantro stored the correct way in the refrigerator will stay fresh for about 7 to 10 days.

Method 1: Using a Jar of Water

The first way to refrigerate cilantro is to dunk the whole bunch in a jar of water, just like you would keep your cut flowers fresh. In fact, you can also use this method to store mint leaves for up to 3 months.

Things you’ll need:

things needed to store cilantro using a jar of water

  • Cilantro bunch (roots chopped off)
  • Mason jar
  • Plastic bag

Single-Step Method: Place the cilantro in a water-filled jar & refrigerate it

soak in a water-filled jar and cover to store cilantro
Place the cilantro bunch in a Mason jar filled with water and cover with a plastic bag
  • Fill a mason jar halfway with water.
  • Remove any wilted or rotten leaves from the cilantro bunch.
  • Drop the cilantro bunch into the jar. You need not wash the cilantro at this point. Make sure that the thick stems are submerged in the water, as the leaves will draw moisture through the stems.
  • Loosely cover the leaves with a plastic bag, as shown in the image above. This will prevent the leaves from wilting due to the harsh cold air of the refrigerator.
  • While you can store the jar at room temperature, refrigerating it will extend the shelf life by a few days. Place the jar in the refrigerator until needed.
  • Change the water in the jar daily to keep the cilantro fresh.

Simply pluck off fresh cilantro leaves as needed to use in your salads or as a garnish for your dishes. Cilantro stored in water will stay good for 10 days.

Method 2: Using Paper Towels

A fairly common method used to store green veggies, cilantro also can be wrapped up in a paper towel and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Cilantro doesn’t respond well to excess moisture and turns mushy. The paper towel will help soak up the excess moisture and keep the leaves dry and crisp. The damp paper towel will also work as a humidifier to maintain optimum moisture.

You can also use paper towels to preserve celery or even to store broccoli for a year or more.

Things you’ll need:

things needed to store cilantro using paper towels

  • Cilantro bunch
  • Water
  • Paper towels

Step 1. Clean the cilantro & chop off the roots

wash and chop to store cilantro
Wash the cilantro bunch and chop off the roots
  • Wash the cilantro bunch under running water. Give the leaves and stems a light rub if your find any stuck mud.
  • Use a pair of scissors to chop off the roots from the cilantro sprigs. You can also chop off the thicker stems.
  • Remove any discolored or rotten leaves.

Step 2. Soak up the excess water with paper towels

dry using paper towels to store cilantro
Dry the cilantro using paper towels
  • Place 1 or 2 sheets of paper towel on a countertop.
  • Spread out the cleaned cilantro sprigs on the paper towels.
  • Cover the sprigs with another paper towel, and let it sit for 5 minutes to soak up the excess water.

Step 3. Store the cilantro between paper towels in an airtight container

place in an airtight conatiner to store cilantro
Place the cilantro sprigs between paper towels in an airtight container
  • Line an airtight container with a paper towel.
  • Place the cilantro in the container.
  • Cover the leaves with another paper towel.
refrigerate to store cilantro
Secure the lid and place it in the fresh zone of your refrigerator
  • Put the lid on the container and place it in the fresh zone of your refrigerator.
  • Check the cilantro after 3 or 4 days and change the paper towel if it feels too wet.

Cilantro will stay fresh for up to 1 week using this method.

# Dehydrated

Method 1: Using a Microwave

Another way to store fresh cilantro is by dehydrating the leaves. You can then store the leaves whole or grind them into a powdered form to use as a seasoning. Dehydrated cilantro will stay good for up to 1 year when stored in a dark and cool place.

Things you’ll need:

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things needed to store cilantro using microwave

  • Cilantro (roots and thick stems removed)
  • Paper towels

Step 1. Wash the cilantro & soak up the excess moisture

wash and blot dry to store cilantro
Wash and blot dry the cilantro leaves
  • Wash the cilantro leaves under running water.
  • Shake off the excess water and spread the sprigs out on a paper towel.
  • Cover the leaves with another paper towel. Give it a light press to allow the paper towel to absorb the moisture.
  • Let the leaves sit for 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 2. Dehydrate the leaves in the microwave & store it in a dark container

dehydrate to store cilantro
Microwave to dehydrate the leaves and then store in a dark container
  • Move the cilantro into the microwave.
  • Microwave the leaves on high for 2 minutes. Check them every 30 seconds to make sure that they are not burnt. Also, toss the leaves to ensure that they are dried from all sides.
  • Once done, let the cilantro rest on the countertop for 2 to 3 minutes. This will allow all the built-up steam to escape.
  • Transfer the dried leaves to a dark-colored, airtight container. Store it in a dark and cool corner of your kitchen. You can also grind the leaves and store the powder for easy use.

Dehydrated cilantro will retain its aroma and flavor for up to 1 year.

Tips

  • When storing cilantro, label the bag or container with the date of storage to keep track of the shelf life.
  • You can also dry cilantro in an oven or using a food dehydrator.
  • You may blanch the cilantro leaves before freezing them, as blanching helps retain the color of the leaves.
  • If your dish calls for the herb to be chopped, learn some easy ways to chop cilantro.
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