Cilantro doesn’t last long, even when you grow your own.
While you can stagger when you plant cilantro in order to eke it out for as long as possible, it still has a shorter shelf life than what you’d want. Once you cut it from the plant, this cuts it short even further.
You can dry cilantro with no problems at all, and yes, it is mostly available from supermarkets, but what if you could preserve it at its best, during its peak season? The good news is that you can freeze it.
Something To Consider Before You Freeze Cilantro
Cilantro is something that you can freeze without many problems, but it is worth knowing that the freezing and thawing process does change the appearance of this lovely herb.
Freezing cilantro is fine if you plan on using it for its flavor value rather than its appearance. If you’re looking to preserve the color and texture, you’re better off using fresh cilantro.
You could always use a mixture of the two if you prefer, and then that way there’s no downside to freezing cilantro, and you still have some for later.
How To Freeze Cilantro
Preparing Cilantro For The Freezer
The first thing you need to do when you want to freeze cilantro is to cut the herb from the plant – or trim the stalk, depending on how it comes.
Wash the herb. Rinse it under cold water to get rid of any soil, or anything else that shouldn’t be there. Make sure to pat it gently to make sure it’s as dry as possible.
Take off any leaves which are discolored or damaged.
Now you can choose either method of the two below. The first is a little more time-consuming, and you may end up with less cilantro than you started with, so if in doubt, go for the second option.
How To Flash Freeze Cilantro
You’ll need to take the leaves off the stalks for this one. Line a small baking tray with parchment paper or silicone.
Lay the leaves flat on the tray in a single layer, ensuring that they don’t touch.
Put the whole tray into the freezer. Once they are frozen (which shouldn’t take long), remove them from the freezer and decant the cilantro leaves into a small resealable freezer bag.
Squeeze as much air from the bag as possible before sealing it. Don’t forget to label the bag, and lay it flat somewhere where you won’t be tempted to put things on top of it.
How To Freeze Cilantro Using An Ice Cube Tray
This method is much quicker. Simply finely chop the coriander leaves, and add at least a pinch into each container. Add as many leaves as you feel you’ll need into each compartment, making sure there’s some room at the top.
Give the tray a gentle shake to get them to sit evenly, and fill the tray with water.
Place the ice cube tray into the freezer, and wait until the cilantro is frozen solid. Transfer the cubes into a resealable freezer bag, label it, and freeze it.
You can freeze cilantro for up to a year, but for best results, use it within a few months.
Cilantro is easy to freeze, and it’s certainly better than no cilantro at all, but you’ll want to hold off on trying to use it the same as you would fresh cilantro.
In other words, reserve frozen or thawed cilantro for dishes you’ll be cooking instead of garnishes on salads (see also Freezing Celery) or similar uses, as both the color and the texture won’t compare to fresh cilantro.