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Extending the Life of Fresh Cilantro?

opinionatedchef Aug 21, 2010 09:53 PM

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 or....in 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.

  1. c
    caliking Aug 21, 2010 09:58 PM

    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
      meatnveg Aug 21, 2010 10:28 PM

      +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
        ZenSojourner Aug 21, 2010 11:12 PM

        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
          JerryMe Aug 22, 2010 02:43 PM

          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
        goodhealthgourmet Aug 21, 2010 11:07 PM

        +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
          Harters Aug 22, 2010 02:30 PM

          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. ZenSojourner Aug 21, 2010 10:22 PM

          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. re: ZenSojourner
            Bada Bing Aug 22, 2010 04:34 AM

            The roots are good eats, too!

          2. b
            Bryan Pepperseed Aug 22, 2010 05:23 AM

            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. Caroline1 Aug 22, 2010 12:58 PM

              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
                Bada Bing Aug 22, 2010 01:30 PM

                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
                  opinionatedchef Aug 22, 2010 02:02 PM

                  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
                    Bada Bing Aug 22, 2010 02:09 PM

                    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
                      ZenSojourner Aug 22, 2010 03:28 PM

                      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. j
                Joebob Aug 22, 2010 07:41 PM

                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.

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