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Aug 21, 2010 09:53 PM

Extending the Life of Fresh Cilantro?

It seems that every time i buy a bunch of fresh cilantro, it goes bad if i don't use it in 2 days. A few leaves go bad in the middle of the bunch and /or the stems are bruised where the band circled them a few days it's worthless. even after i put the roots in a jar of water and the jar in a closed plastic bag. Today i tried removing the band, soaking the bunch, removing all the bad stuff,putting the roots in a jar of water, letting the leaves air dry, and putting it in a bag. We'll see what happens.

what do you do and how long will the bunch keep? thanks much for your help.

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  1. Wash the bunch when you get it from the store. Pat dry with paper towels. Divide into two smaller bunches. Wrap each in a few sheets of paper towels. Place each bundle in its own ziploc bag, but do not seal. Place in your veg/crisper drawer. Use the first bunch then the second. Mine have lasted upto 2 weeks.

    5 Replies
    1. re: caliking

      +1 for this method.

      Warning: Do not listen to the evil voice saying "maybe you should freeze the bunch". THAT was not good eats

      1. re: meatnveg

        Freezing works if you chop it and freeze in a small amount of water in ice cube trays. This is only good for soups and stews but it beats dried - or nothing.

        Although honestly I don't do this anymore, its a relic of when I couldn't walk into almost any grocery store and buy fresh as often as I wanted.

        1. re: ZenSojourner

          Yep, Zen - that's how I freeze mine cuz' suddenly I'll get a plethora of cilantro from the garden or friends and then zip.

      2. re: caliking

        +2 with some minor alterations. instead of the unsealed ziploc, use the thinner baggies that come with twist ties (but don't close it with a tie). zipper bags tend to be heavier and don't allow enough oxygen circulation. and be sure to *dry it well* before storing.

        1. re: caliking

          Sorta +1. I wrap in paper but only round the bottom and then I wet the paper. Easily keeps a week, by which time it's always used up.

        2. If they have the roots on you can keep them for weeks in the fridge with the roots in water. I used to have a thing called the "parsley keeper" which was a glass jar with a ceramic lid. The ceramic lid let the container "breath" and the glass jar let you keep an eye on your cilantro (or parsley).

          Change the water every day.

          I have grown my own cilantro for years (until recently, nowhere to garden now) so I always pulled it up root and all so I could store it this way.

          1 Reply
          1. For me, my best results so far has been the "wrap in paper towel - open baggie" method discussed above.
            The one and only time I was able to buy it with the roots still attached, I tried to plant it in a flower pot and failed. I was then told by the produce guy at the store that I should have put it in water for a couple of days before planting in dirt. The next time I can get some with roots, I'm going to try that.

            1. I can't remember the last time I bought more than one bunch of cilantro at a time, if I ever did. But when I have some left over, I trim the bottom of the stems so they'll drink well and put them in a glass of water as if they were fresh flowers, then put it in the refrigerator. Use as soon as possible. I've never tried just putting them on a window sill and making sure the water is replenished. Might work?

              4 Replies
              1. re: Caroline1

                My approach, too. Works for a couple of days at least, in my case, and a water change can add a day or two more. That's generally enough.

                I just wish I could buy cilantro with roots and all!

                1. re: Bada Bing

                  bb, you just wash and then mince up the roots and include them w/ the minced leaves and stems? i've never heard of this being done; so interesting!

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    No, I only get roots when I grow them myself. In those cases the roots are cleaned and mashed in a mortar (or otherwise blended) into a paste for use in Thai and other southeast Asian sauces and marinades. There might be Latin American applications with the roots, too, but I don't know of them yet.

                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      Thai food actually uses a different variety of coriander, which I have never found even in an Asian market, but you can grow it from seed. Check with any of the seed sellers specializing in Asian veggies.

              2. SLIGHTLY off topic, but there is a recipe for "spiced lentils with cucumber yoghurt" floating around that is great. It calls for a whole bunch of cilantro and I used a big bunch.