How the heck should I store coriander leaves and keep cilantro fresh?

How many times have you seen your herbs and vegetables wilting, turning yellow, or rotting while you were waiting for that one day to use it for that one thing?  I have done over a hundred times.  The amount of coriander leaves, curry leaves, and mint leaves I have wasted so far is unbelievable.  Not to mention other greens, fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits.  For some damn reason I have usually not been able to consume my grocery quick enough or store them up long enough.  Fed up of my wasteful self, I had to find ways to keep the produce fresh.  Especially figure out how the heck should I store and coriander leaves fresh.
I have been taking steps to store berries or at least make something out of them and freeze.  Worked on canning pineapple to preserve it than throwing extra pineapple pieces away.  Worked on not wasting fenugreek leaves and my time on them.

And this time, I tested ways on how to keep cilantro fresh for a long time and find out what's the best way to store cilantro. Here are my experiments and results.

(Yes, coriander leaves and cilantro is the same thing.)


 Washed, wrapped in newspaper
and put inside ziploc bag, stored in refrigerator.
after 16 days ... 
 pale, stale, and stinky.  washing and wrapping is not a good idea.



 Unwashed, wrapped in newspaper
and put inside ziploc bag, stored in refrigerator.
after 16 days ...
 not bad, but beginning to dry up and lose moisture.  not as fresh.



 Washed, wrapped in paper towel
and put inside ziploc bag, stored in refrigerator. after 16 days ...
 uh-oh.  to be trashed.  washing beforehand is not a good idea. 



 Unwashed, wrapped in paper towel
and put inside ziploc bag, stored in refrigerator.  after 16 days ...
 not bad.  looks fresh too.  this is a good way to store cilantro.



 In water, in refrigerator
placed on top shelf, light from within the refrigerator, in cool temperature, trimmed stems & changed water every 5 days.

 after 43 days ...
 couldn't believe they lasted this long.  this is a GREAT way to store cilantro leaves fresh for a long time.


 In water, outside refrigerator
placed on countertop, enough natural light, at room temperature, trimmed stems & changed water every 5 days.

after 16 days ...
 not a bad idea, but leaves beginning to fade and turn yellow faster than when stored inside refrigerator.



 Washed & dried
few sprigs washed & left out to dry on newspaper for 3 days.
 turned into dried / powdered cilantro (when rubbed) that could be used while cooking (such as in dals or curries) but not for garnish.  lost half of its flavor.

 Washed & froze
1 Tbsp packed chopped cilantro dunked in 1 Tbsp water, frozen into ice cubes.  
 released dark color dirty water after thawing that had to be discarded.  cubes could be used for making chutneys or while cooking (such as, in dals) but not for garnish.




How do you store and keep cilantro or even other greens fresh for long time?  Add a valuable comment below.
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33 comments:

  1. i buy one bunch at a time .. trim teh roots and keep in ziploc unwashed... i find that ok for me.. cos i consume a lot of dhania.. so they are gone in few days.. mint is where i ahve troble.. will try ur method there... interesting post nisha:)

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    Replies
    1. my next experiment is on mint. for now i know putting it in water like cilantro doesn't help!
      thanks renu :)

      Delete
  2. I usually store it ina glass of water inside refrigerator uncovered in the lowest door side shelf, stays very fresh more than a month :-) that works good for me:)

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    1. Thanks for your input, Julie! Looks like covering cilantro with plastic wrap like I did is not necessary.

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  3. Wow you have been busy! For cilantro-I generally wash the leaves, let it dry completely on a paper towel and then chop it up finely and keep in a tupperware (with the lid closed). This way the cilantro is ready to use since it is all chopped up and it stays fresh for a week (sometimes more), which is good for me. I then go to the grocery and buy more. But I like the idea of keeping the herb in a glass of water covered in the refrigerator. With mint, I just make chutney!

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    1. Busy yes, and these experiments have been going on since January this year :D
      Actually even the cilantro I keep in the same plastic bag I buy it in stays in fridge for a week. But my quest for keeping it fresh longer (and avoid rotting black cilantro, pale leaves, and the seeping stinky water) made me try these methods.
      I like the idea of washing, drying, chopping to have it ready. I usually chop just a little extra than needed and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap, using up within 2-3 days.

      Delete
  4. WOW!!! What a great way to store and you have so much patience to do this work.

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    Replies
    1. The patience came after a good amount of frustration :D

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  5. Wow...very neatly explained methods..Great work..

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  6. Great post dear!!I wrap them unwashed in a paper towel,like you did ,or sometimes chop and store in a plastic container with a lid ,and lined with a paper towel ,keep changing the paper towel after a week..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks for your inputs, anjana! :)

      Delete
  7. Great job!! Very diligently done! - Tushar (Anjana's son :D)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. hey tushar, thanks for reading! :)

      Delete
  8. oh dear prb with all housemakers and well for me also it doesnt stay longer. so i just buy less only in one go and try to finish all as soon as possible

    bt great ideas

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    Replies
    1. i'm so lazy to go grocery shopping regularly, so i buy bulk and then try ways to store everything longer :P

      thanks!

      Delete
  9. I love your little experiment...I have the same problem with cilantro. So much so that I stopped buying it!

    Great post...

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    1. haha, so that's your solution! :D

      thanks :)

      Delete
  10. i love fresh herbs and hence buy in small quantities only. How do I store them- trim the roots and store in a zip lock pouch. They remain fresh for a week or so. In my case they get used by 4 th or 5th day and hence it's time for another round to the market. Nice post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. once i move to new apartment, i'm going to start growing cilantro, mint, curry leaves. fresh stock every time! :D

      thanks for your comment, priya :)

      Delete
  11. this is a nice and a helpful post. WIll be helpful for every kitchen.

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    Replies
    1. glad you think so, raksha, thanks!

      Delete
  12. Wow Girl.. You do have great patience.. My cilantro bunch never lasts more than a week.. I sue a lot of it.. I wrap it unwashed in a paper towl and keep it in a plastic box.. it does it for me.. I would like to see your results with mint.. Great post Sweetie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha, first my laziness ruins tons of cilantro, then my patience comes to save them for future :P
      too many experiments lined up for me...mint, curry leaves, spinach - i'm still learning how to NOT waste them as much as i do :D

      and thanks, jyoti :)

      Delete
  13. Awesome tips, I buy most of time, whatever I do they spoil in between.

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    1. thanks! try my methods, will last for weeks! :)

      Delete
  14. Great post Nisha. I actually learned this trick on Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals, unfortunately I don't do it. ;) As soon as I buy cilantro, I try to use it within a day or two. I'm sure this was very helpful to many folks.

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    Replies
    1. thanks nisha!
      i believe this post will sure be helpful for lazy people like me who don't wanna go grocery shopping too often and want to extend the life of produce :D

      Delete
  15. I grow mine... use it fresh right out of the garden... But this time the seeds aren't sprouting tried 3times already... i bought a lot of cilantro for chutney and next day something came up I just wrapped them in a wet white cloth unwashed without chopping roots, I use to do that for curry leaves a while back. I just intended them to stay fresh 4-5 days but my trip got extended for another week and when I was back I found them all fresh with just two yellow sprigs I was soooo happy.

    But now on I'm gonna use the in water in refrigerator method... Thanks a ton for such a detailed post... in fact I love the detail in your recipes too even before my mind starts to question the next sentence has the answer... I experienced that while making the stuffed bhindi... by the way I keep making that every time I buy okra... don't even feel like trying any other okra recipe... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I could grow cilantro in my patio too!
      Thanks for your kind words, Anisha :-)

      Delete
  16. Hai This is the first time i see someone experimenting something with such a huge degree of patience. I try Keeping Mine fresh by wrapping them in a cloth bag and keeping them in fridge how ever that can keep me going only for max 8- 10 days. This one is incredible.Loved your post and i'm gonna try this from next time.

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  17. This is a lovely post Nisha. I first read it last week and had been waiting to finish the bunch of cilantro I already had, so I could start storing your recommended way. I would like to know if it is necessary to cover the bunch when placing inside the refrigerator on the top shelf ? Also how often do you trim the roots? Just once, right at the beginning or more often? I am a fan of your all your posts and recipes. :)

    ReplyDelete

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