In this weeks CSA box, I received another huge bunch of cilantro. Although I love the taste of this herb, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to eat it all before it turns bad. Luckily, Grant Family Farms sent me some tips on how to store it to maintain its longevity. Here's what I learned:
- Although it is usually just the leaves of the fresh cilantro plant that are used, the stems and roots are edible as well.
- As soon as you arrive home with fresh cilantro, place the stems (with roots intact if attached) in a glass of water and cover the the top loosely with a plastic bag.
- Snip off leaves as you need them and re-cover.
- The water should be changed every 2 to 3 days.
- Most importantly, do not wash the herb until you are ready to use it since excess moisture will turn the leaves to green slime during storage.
- It should last up to a week in the refrigerator.
To freeze, you can either place a small amount of dry cilantro leaves in a single layer on a cookie sheet. When frozen, gather into a zip-top bag, returning to the freezer immediately. Use within 6 months. Or you can simply freeze into zip locks like you would dill. Do not thaw before using.
To dry, preheat oven to 250-300 degrees F. Lightly coat a cookie sheet with baking spray to help with sticking. Strip the leaves off the stems of the cilantro, and spread the leaves in one layer on the cookie sheet. Let the leaves dry out in the oven for 20-30 minutes, check once. You just want the leaves to lose the fresh green look. Take them out of the oven and cool on the cookie sheet. Use a spatula to scrape off the cookie sheet, and slightly crumble the leaves. Put in an airtight jar and store with spices, use when needed! These will last as long as any other dried herb you buy.