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!
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 :-).)
Cilantro Tips – How to Use and Store Cilantro
1. You Can Use the Whole Plant!
– 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. How to Store Cilantro
Store what you will use quickly in the refrigerator upright in a glass container so that the stems are resting in some water.
– 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.
– 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. Better to use your money on something else and just use the fresh herb for cooking.
4. Cilantro vs Coriander
Did you know 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 5just got some food history thrown into the mix too!
5. Cilantro–the Heavy Metal Magnet
Did you know that cilantro is a supposed to be natural metal detoxifier? That's right.
This might be the most helpful of all the cilantro tips you will ever know.
Several years ago, I didn't know anything about metals and the real issue that they are in our environment. Basically metals are everywhere (think about the lead issue in the water in Flint, MI). Let's just say that eating a little (or a lot) of cilantro now and then might be a good thing but don't overdo it and speak with your physician if you have any concerns. Keep in mind that studies vary on the effectiveness of cilantro in heavy metals. (source)
Ways to Use Cilantro
There are SO many ways to use cilantro, but one of our family's favorite recipes of all time is this 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!
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:
Top Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dasqfamily/2648343226/