saving cilantro

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by diego, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. diego

    diego

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    I have been unsuccessful raising cilantro and have to buy it by the bunch at the grocery. I may use a quarter of a bunch and hate to scrap the rest. The next time I need it could be three weeks away. How can I best preserve the fresh flavor for the next time? How about chopping and freezing in lime juice as mini ice cubes? I usually use it in salsas and guacamole.
     
  2. suzanne

    suzanne

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    I have pretty good luck putting the bunch of cilantro in a jar of water (not all the way to the end of the leaves, of course, just the stems), and putting it in the refrigerator with a plastic bag over it. I don't think I've kept it as long as 3 weeks that way, but definitely well into the 2nd week.

    Freezing the way you describe might work, although I would not mix it with lime juice; just cover it really well to keep it air-tight.

    Now I'll step aside and let others talk. ;)
     
  3. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Yeah right!! :D :p
     
  4. robert peyton

    robert peyton

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    I've had luck using that method with both cilantro and parsley Suzanne. I do poke some holes in the plastic bag, and I wrap the bag around the container (I use a drinking glass) with a rubber band.

    Honestly I don't remember why or when I started poking the holes, I wonder if that's doing anything beneficial, or if a good seal would be preferable?
     
  5. suzanne

    suzanne

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    Well, the "hole" idea is that you want to keep the moisture in so the herbs don't dry out from the cold, but you want to let the excess water evaporate so the herbs don't rot. I do it with cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, and mint. And I've tried it with arugula, too -- works well, we just go through bunches fast enough so I don't HAVE to.

    Have you noticed that the King Arthur catalogue now has "herb keepers" that do basically the same job -- but for something like $20 each?!?!?!? :confused: :eek: :confused: Harrumph.

    EDIT: Hey, Brad, ever notice my "member level?" I made that one up a little while after I joined, because I know what I'm like: yap yap yap yap :D If it ever gets to be too much for you, you can always tell me to be quiet. And I will. for a few hours. :D :D After all, you're the only guys who actually LISTEN to me! ;)
     
  6. risa

    risa

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    Suzanne's method definitely works. Just make sure you change the water every now and then unless you want slimey stems. I've had cilantro last a month although some of the stems start to look scraggly by then and you'll have some brown leaves.
     
  7. katew

    katew

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    Eww, just ditch the cilantro ;) just kidding
     
  8. joshua tomczyk

    joshua tomczyk

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    You can use the cilantro to make a pesto. This can be kept in the frig for a couple of weeks or in the freezer for months. You can use any basil pesto recipie, you could sub toasted pumpkin seeds for pine nuts for a little more Southwestern flavor.
     
  9. mudbug

    mudbug

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    diego,

    Yes, as discussed above, keep the stems in a bit of water. To maximize length of storage, change the water out every day and trim the bottom of the stems when they look tired...

    Also, how are you trying to grow your cilantro? Are they in full sun or part shade? What part of the year do you plant? etc?
     
  10. diego

    diego

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    cchiu
    I have had success storing in frig in a glass of water. When I try to grow it it is in full sun and I plant any time I feel like it. In south florida any time is good but in mid summer it does get a little hot. The life of a plant seems to be limited to a month before it bolts and dies even if I prune the seed stalks immediately.
     
  11. mudbug

    mudbug

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    diego,

    Cilantro just isn't a long lasting plant. If you really want to grow it, you'll have to sow in 2 week successions. For more on growing cilantro, check this thread.

    If you have more questions, just ask.

    :)
     
  12. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    You basically have to beat cilantro with a bat for it not to grow. Are you using a good potting mix in a pot or trying to plant it in the ground? Maybe the ground soil you have is no good. I live in FL and it's basically sand mixed in with a little brown stuff. It feels awful in your hands. It's hard to believe the soil is so rotten here with all this profuse growth.

    Anyway, if you buy cilantro with the roots attached, you can put it in a small glass of water and use within 1-2 days. Cilantro is a soft herb, not a hardy one like rosemary or thyme so the shelf life starts ticking away rather quickly. If you buy cilantro without the roots, you could wash it, then spin dry in a salad spinner and roll it up in a paper towel. You will buy yourself another 1-2 days but not much more.
     
  13. coqui

    coqui

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    Hi!!!

    I do two things to keep cilantro, coriander leaves and Italian parsley looking green and almost alive when I have a surpluss of them.
    1. I process the clean, dry leaves with either X-tra virgin olive oil; if that is what suits your use or any other oil (without taste like grapeseed, etc..). Always keep the leaves covered with enough oil and refrigerate...Yes... refrigerate, although the oil will cloud, it will behave when at room temperature without any change in flavor.

    2. If I want to use it for guacamole or as part of a sauce that is no big deal, since it is not the "piece de resistance", I divide the bunch, depending upon the size, layer it between paper towels and microwave for 15 seconds in high. This will kill one of the enzymes that makes them turn dark. Then after they refresh, I pack them in freezer bags, take out as much air as possible and freeze, it will probably last about 2 months.
    I know that because Once I went on vacation and when I returned home, it helped me whip up a sauce in no time for a hungry family.

    Buen Provecho

    Coqui
     
  14. diego

    diego

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    coqui
    I like your idea of microwaving cilantro before freezing. When you say "after it refreshes" do you mean after it cools from microwaving or do you refresh it in ice water before freezing?
     
  15. coqui

    coqui

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    Hola!!!

    Diego what I mean is for the cilantro to rest or cool down. Do not inmerse it water, that will spoil the whole process.

    Glad I could help