Storing Cilantro
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Lewis Clark
Posted on: June 16, 1998

How do you store cilantro?

‘Cilantro’ is the fresh green foliage of the coriander plant (Coriandrum sativum). The seeds of the coriander plant are, of course, the well known spice used in soups and stews, curries, sauces and many exotic foods. While the seeds are easy to dry and store, the leaves do not dry well. They lose their distinctive flavour and aroma and turn brown when dried, making the dried product virtually useless for cooking. Probably the only practical way to store cilantro is to freeze it in small bunches for future use.

Fortunately, there are alternatives. The mexican coriander (Eryngium foetidum) is a very different plant with darker, tougher leaves that dry very well. Known as ‘culantro’, it can be chopped fresh and dried, retaining good colour and aroma. And, totally unlike cilantro, it can stand some cooking. Some authors speculate that this herb will eventually become important in the world dried spice trade because of the surge of interest in cilantro over the past two decades.

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