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cilantro--can it be frozen?

I have a large bunch of cilantro and hate to see it go to waste. Is this something that can be frozen?

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  1. Trader Joe's sells frozen cilantro so it seems possible...

    1. Lay cilantro in a single layer on waxed paper on a baking sheet or other flat surface. Place in freezer for 3-4 hours until completely frozen. Place in a ziptop freezer bag, removing as much air as possible.

      1. There was a chef on Martha Stewart the other day who showed his tip for freezing fresh thyme. I don't see why it wouldn't work for cilantro too. He basically blanched it in boiling water for a few seconds (using a mesh strainer), then plunged it into ice water. He said that preserved the color. Then he squeezed the water out and bundled it into plastic wrap.

        1. I grind mine up with garlic and freeze it.

          1. I froze some in water and used half within a month or two and it still had some flavor, I used the rest another month later and no flavor.

            As mentioned, chop it, cover with ice water, and freeze. It should last at least a month or so.

            1. I have had the same experience as luniz. I have found that keeping it a little water like roses in a vase in the refrig seems to keep it a little longer and fresher. I do the same with asparagus. I change the water daily.

              4 Replies
              1. re: mochi mochi

                Hmmm... I saw in a Pampered Chef catalog an herb keeper that was based on the idea of keeping it in a bit of water in a container to keep it fresh.

                I would never use it fast enough anyway. The freezing of it tho would be great. Especially in the winter when I want it for soups.

                1. re: Bratdawg

                  I bought this herb keeper and found it is better for long pretzel sticks. :O

                  I think I'll try chopping cilantro and maybe squeezing half a lemon in it to preserve it's color and freezing it in ice cube trays.

                  1. re: Bratdawg

                    Many herbs keep much better in a vase of water than in a plastic bag in the fridge, basil and cilantro included.

                    I currently have one of those heads of butter lettuce that are sold with the roots attached, and it's been alive in my fridge for over a month. I'm thinking this is the wave of the future for selling veggies!

                2. Chop it to the consistency that you will usually use it in recipes. Place it in a small zip-top bag or plastic container. No water. The water will take all the flavor out of it. When you need some, just scratch out what you need directly into the dish you are making - don't defrost. It will keep reasonably, but not terribly well, for a few weeks. BTW, parsley freezes extremely well this way. Never use water. These two herbs are not at all like thyme which has a fleshy leaf, botanically very different.
                  Cilantro is probably the most difficult of all herbs to preserve. Best to buy it fresh and keep it as Mochi Mochi suggests in a vase in the fridge. Even then it wilts and loses its flavor quickly.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MakingSense

                    I wash my Cilantro by dipping it in a vinegar water wash for several minutes, shake dry, may paper towel it a bit to get excess water off then just put it in a freezer bag, burp the air out, and freeze it. I just take some frozen bits of it out to put in my salsa recipe and it is as good as fresh. Never tried thawing it up as you can just use it frozen in any dish.

                  2. depends on what you want to use it for when you take it out of the freezer. For some things, it's of no use after it's been frozen. If you want to blend it into others, it's fine. It turns to mushy green stuff often.

                    1. Everytime I've frozen fresh herbs it has taken a nano second for them to become a deathly shade of black. I think that's what V. was trying to say............

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Gio

                        Thank you, Gio. I often do struggle for correct words and imagery.

                        1. re: Gio

                          You need to blanch it for a few seconds....

                        2. cliantro is so inexpensive I would not bother since the flavor would not be as good as fresh

                          1. Yup. Can be frozen. I seperate long stems from leaf clusters, freeze the stems whole in a zip lock bag, the leaves chopped in another zip lock. I don't bother with trying to preserve their shape. It will disappear when thawed anyway. And frozen cilantro is only good for adding to something you're cooking, or you can use it in a salad dressing, but it will never work as a garnish or dusted in a taco.

                            I've yet to find an herb that doesn't freeze successfully. Right now I have mint, epizote, dill weed, parsley, cilantro, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, fresh marjoram, and fresh bay leaves in the freezer.

                            1. Hari chutney would freeze well, especially in an ice cube tray.