6 Super Tips for Cilantro

Cilantro - that fabulous Mexican Herb - How to Store it--and How to Use Cilantro-6 Super Tips! Betcha don't know all of these!

For years, whenever I made salsa, or any other dish calling for cilantro, I never added it.  I kept telling my husband (who simply loves the stuff) that it tasted like soap.  Ick.

Well, I was at a church gathering once where an amazing homemade salsa was served that was pretty heavy on the cilantro–

And I was hooked :-).

I came home wanting to add it to my next batch of salsa, but I just couldn’t bear to:

  • spend money on it,
  • use just the leaves and
  • have the rest of it go to waste!

You too?

Well, I did some research and now I have some great tips to share about how to use and store cilantro so that you can make great salsas and bean dips without breaking the bank (or just adding more fuel to your compost :-).)

How to Use and Store Cilantro

1.  Use it All!

- Did you know that you can use not just the leaves, but also the stems?  That’s right – you can!  So stop throwing away or composting those cilantro stems and just add them to your favorite dishes along with the leaves!  Get more bang out of your food budget!

2.  Storage Tips for Fridge and Freezer

a.  Fridge

Store what you will use quickly in the refrigerator upright in a glass container so that the stems are resting in some water.

b.  Freezer

-  Whatever you cannot use right away, just chop into small pieces, store in a small plastic bag, and freeze.  This will not only save money, but the next time you need cilantro, it will be ready and pre-chopped for you so your prep will be already done.

Use and Store Cilantro | Cilantro and Coriander

-  I purchase my small plastic bags in bulk from Country Life Natural Foods (I use the small 4 x 2 x 8 size for cilantro) and I swear by Twixit Clips for storage ease all around the house.

-  Frozen cilantro separates fairly easily and even in chunks chops easily on a cutting board.

You can see more about my other nifty storage techniques in these posts:

3.  Dried Cilantro Just Doesn’t Cut It

- Dried cilantro just doesn’t have the “oomph” needed for great dishes.  You can try it and see if you want to, but believe me, it just isn’t worth it.

Bonus Tips & Info

1.  Did you know that coriander is another name for cilantro?  Well, now you do!  So if you want to have your own fresh cilantro, just plant some coriander seeds and start your own herb garden!  Thanks to a reader, I found out that cilantro is the Spanish name, but since cilantro became popular in the U.S. through Latin American cuisine, the Spanish name (cilantro) is often used here.  So you just got some food history thrown into the mix too!

2.  A GREAT recipe:  One of our family’s favorite recipes is my Fast and Yummy Bean Dip.  Just throw some of your fresh or frozen cilantro in with the rest of the ingredients and you have a great summer dish that won’t heat up your kitchen!

3.  Did you know that cilantro is a natural metal detoxifier?  That’s right.

Several years ago, I didn’t know anything about metals and the real issue that they are in our environment.  Basically metals are everywhere and I will go into that more in the future.  Let’s just say that eating a little (or a lot) of cilantro now and then is probably a good thing.  (As always, talk to your physician before changing your diet or supplements.  This is not medical advice :)!)

So there you have it.  Now you can have cilantro all the time, year round, and have it ready at your fingertips.

Other Whole Foodie Kitchen Tips:

- How to De-Gas Beans
The Easiest Way to Freeze and Store Berries
The Easiest Way to Peel Garlic
The Easiest Way to Store Tomatoes

Top Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dasqfamily/2648343226/

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  1. Glad that you made a whole post for cilantro, and mentioned the metal detox element!

    We grow it up here in AK but I can’t get it to go to seed because the summers are too cool.

    One other storage tip that my grandmother in Israel uses, that works really well for parsley and cilantro, is to wrap the sprigs in paper towels and keep in the fridge in a sealed plastic container–I’ve been surprised how long it keeps like that.

    • Nice tip, Ela!

    • I also find adding a piece of paper towel to the bag/container works well – especially if I’ve already chopped it up for using later. Keeps it from going slimy so quickly! Or if I have the plastic produce bag from the store, I put it in the bag and tie it tight with as much air inside as possible (like a balloon). It seems to like the space to breathe. I’ve unfortunately never had luck with the stems-in-water trick.

  2. I found this through a Facebook friend’s post. I love it! We grow cilantro, and use it a lot. I didn’t know that coriander was the same – but I did know that it’s much better fresh. Thanks for the tips on freezing, another thing I didn’t know.

  3. Amy Jeanne says:

    Great post! Just a note on growing cilantro from coriander seeds. You need to make sure your coriander is not irradiated or it will not sprout. Most spices are irradiated unless specifically labeled “non-irradiated”. I just bought seeds from Seed Savers and the cilantro did awesome in my garden up until midsummer when the intense KY heat made it bolt.

  4. just remember, the cilantro must bolt and go to seed to get the Coriander SEEDS. but you get to use fresh cilantro in the meantime.

  5. To freeze cilantro, as well as many other herbs, I like to chop it up and put it in ice cube trays with a little water to make “herb cubes.” These are great for tossing into chili, sauces, scrambled eggs (melt in pan before adding eggs), and my favorite Mexi style side, cilantro lime rice!

  6. Pat Sheek says:

    Adrienne, it doesn’t sound like you use coriander for cooking. When my cilantro goes to seed I harvest the seeds and grind them in my Vitamix machine. Coriander tastes lemony and is a great addition to soups and salsa. It really makes a difference.

  7. Never tell people you can just eat the stems. If they are RAW and cut in BITE-SIZE pieces, you can choke on them. I know because I did. They are fine to eat COOKED though, OR if eaten raw make sure they are finely diced so they are too small to choke on. A better use is to throw them in your stock bucket in the freezer along with your carrot, celery, onion, & garlic end pieces and use when you make homemade stock. They add great flavor. ALSO, I can think of one fantastic reason to use dried cilantro. Yes, it loses its flavor, but it removes fluoride from water, so put some in your water filter (I use ZeroWater). I put about a tablespoon in a coffee filter, tie with a twist tie, and add it to the top part of the filter. Just don’t forget to toss it at the end of the day. You don’t want it to get moldy.

    • I meant to chop and use them in a dish like salsa. But of course, anything can be choked on if it’s the wrong size. So if it removes the Fl, aren’t you eating it then? Better to get a real filter I would think. Thanks!