Perhaps the best thing about cilantro is that a little bit of it goes a long way. You only need a smidge of that fresh, herby flavor to spice up your whole dish.
But this can also be a double-edged sword. When you don’t use up the huge bunch you bought at the grocery store, what do you do with the leftovers?
Unfortunately, cilantro doesn’t last a very long time. In the fridge, it can hold up to around 7 to 10 days max.
For most of us, this is not nearly enough time to use a whole bunch of cilantro (unless you like it that much.)
So, what can you do to avoid wasting it? Can you freeze cilantro for future dishes? (*)
The good news is that yes, you can freeze cilantro!
The process is pretty easy, but it helps when you know exactly what you need to do. Before we talk about how to freeze cilantro, let’s get our main question out of the way:
Can You Freeze Cilantro?
Just like other fresh herbs, cilantro freezes well. When stored properly, you can keep cilantro in the freezer for up to 6 months.
In contrast, cilantro only lasts for about 7 to 10 days in the freezer. At room temperature, it can only last about 3 hours.
So, as you can see, freezing cilantro is the best way to extend its lifespan. Here’s how to do it:
How Do You Freeze Cilantro?
There are two methods on how to freeze cilantro, depending on how you plan to use it in the future. Either way, you have to start with fresh cilantro that has been washed and dried properly.
Afterward, choose how you want to freeze your cilantro:
Freezing Whole Cilantro Leaves
We recommend this method if you want to use your cilantro for recipes that call for whole cilantro leaves. Here’s how to do it:
- Separate the leaves from the stems. Place the leaves in a freezer bag.
- Push out as much air as possible from the bag then seal it.
- Place the bag into another bag for extra protection. This way, they won’t get smushed easily in the freezer.
- Label the bag with today’s date before putting it in the freezer. Store for up to 6 months.
Freezing Blended Cilantro
Freezing blended cilantro into cubes is an amazing idea for soups and stews. This is how you do it:
- Pick off the leaves from the stems if you wish. Otherwise, skip this step.
- Put your cilantro in the blender or food processor. Add water or olive oil; just enough to make a thick puree.
- Blend your cilantro until it has reached your desired consistency.
- Pour the puree into ice cube trays. Cover them with lids or plastic wrap.
- Put the trays in the freezer along with a label. Store for up to 6 months.
Bonus tip: If you want to preserve the vibrant green color of your cilantro, blanch them before blending them up. To do this, simply dip your cilantro in boiling water for 10 seconds and then submerge it immediately in an ice bath.
You can also freeze blended cilantro as a part of a pesto mix. Grind up your cilantro with garlic, oil, nuts, salt, Parmesan, and other herbs, then pour the mix into ice cube trays for freezing.
Now that we’ve got the freezing part done, how do you defrost your frozen cilantro properly?
Here’s what you need to do:
How Do You Thaw Frozen Cilantro?
Because cilantro leaves are very thin, they thaw quite quickly. That said, you can add cilantro to your dishes straight from the freezer.
When using cilantro cubes, chop them into little pieces before popping them into your soup or stew.
But for recipes that require fresh cilantro, frozen cilantro won’t come close. Frozen cilantro can appear wilted when thawed out, so they won’t make great garnishes.
Can you freeze cilantro? The answer seems pretty clear–yes, you can freeze cilantro, just like any other herb.
And if you’re worried about losing flavor, you should be pleased to know that cilantro keeps most of its unique taste as long as you freeze it properly. So, if you want your frozen cilantro to taste almost the same as the real thing, be sure to follow our freezing methods above!
For best results, we highly recommend blending your cilantro with a bit of oil to keep in most of that flavor. Better yet, take the extra step of blanching your cilantro to preserve its vibrant color.
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