Preserving fresh cilantro is a great idea so you can make the most out of your herbs. Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an herb often used in Mexican and Thai style cooking. It imparts a fresh distinctive flavor to sauces, stir-fries, and soups. If you grow cilantro or buy it from a grocery store, you might acquire a large amount at the same time. It's important to preserve it properly so that you can enjoy its flavor for weeks to come.
Cilantro wilts easily, so snip off the ends of your bunch and put it into a glass jar filled partly with water. Do not wash the cilantro until you are ready to use it, as it tends to go bad more quickly when moist. Put the jar in the refrigerator and cover it with a plastic bag secured with a rubber band. This technique will keep your cilantro fresh for up to 2 weeks. When ready for use, simply pull out or snip off the desired amount.
In some cases, you may need to freeze cilantro for future use. Putting it in the freezer expecting it to retain color and flavor does not work. Instead, use a method of blanching it and freezing. Bring a pot of water to boil and insert the ends of the cilantro into it upside down for a few seconds. Immediately submerge the cilantro in ice water. Dry the cilantro on towels, remove the leaves, and freeze them until ready for use. They will retain their bright green color and freshness.
For use in soups and sauces, make frozen cilantro cubes. Put the herb in a blender with oil and pulse. Pour the puree into ice cube trays and freeze. Remove them from the tray and store them in a plastic bag. Adding cilantro flavoring is as easy as incorporating one of the frozen cubes while you're cooking!