Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions and is widely used in the culinary world. The fresh, green leaves and stems feature a unique flavor profile consisting of a bright citrus and slightly earthy taste that beautifully complements various cuisines, including Mexican, Indian, and Thai dishes.
In home cooking, cilantro can be easily integrated into entrees, side dishes, and garnishes. It is commonly utilized in recipes like salsa, guacamole, and chimichurri sauce and is often added as a finishing touch to soups and stir-fries or as a topping in salads and tacos, elevating the overall taste and visual appeal of the dish.
Cilantro, often known as fresh coriander in many parts of the world, is a remarkably versatile herb with a distinctive flavour that some adore and others find off-putting. Cilantro is used whole (stems and leaves) in cooking. A common mistake made by many home cooks is overcooking cilantro, which can make it lose its pungent flavor and vibrant color. To get the most out of this ingredient, it should be added towards the end of the cooking process. Washing cilantro properly is another common issue; ensure you wash and dry it completely to remove any dirt and to prevent a muddy taste.
Another tip not so well known is that to bring out the natural oils in cilantro, it can be slightly crushed with a mortar and pestle or gently torn apart using your hands instead of chopping it fine with a knife. This will unlock more of its aromatic flavor.
What can I substitute for cilantro in a recipe?
Can I eat the cilantro stems?
Does cooking cilantro remove its flavor?
I don’t like the taste of cilantro, why is that?
Why is my cilantro turning yellow?
Can I use dried cilantro as a substitute for fresh cilantro?
How can I increase the shelf life of fresh cilantro?
What cuisines commonly use cilantro?
Is there a difference between cilantro and coriander.
Can eating too much cilantro be harmful?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does fresh cilantro expire?
Fresh cilantro tends to wilt and lose its vibrant green color quickly, especially if not stored properly. Usually, it lasts for about 1-2 weeks in the fridge before it starts to wilt or turn yellow. If you choose to freeze your cilantro, it can last up to 2 months, although the texture may change slightly upon defrosting. It's best to use fresh cilantro as soon as possible to ensure it maintains its bright flavor and color.
How do you tell if fresh cilantro is bad?
It's quite straightforward to tell if fresh cilantro has gone bad. First, you'll notice that the vibrant green leaves start to turn a dull yellow or even a dark slimy green. In addition, the stems may start to wilt or lose their firmness. A sniff test can further confirm this - fresh cilantro has a distinct, bright aroma. If it starts to smell off or has lost its aroma completely, it's a sign that it's past its prime and should be thrown away.
Tips for storing fresh cilantro to extend shelf life
• Always rinse your cilantro under cool water, pat dry before storing it. This will help remove any dirt or bugs.
• To maintain freshness, store your cilantro in the fridge. Cilantro prefers a humid environment. One popular method is to trim the stems, place the cilantro in a glass of water (like fresh flowers), cover with a loose plastic bag, and then store in the fridge. Replace the water every couple of days.
• If you want to freeze your cilantro for long-term storage, you can chop it up, place it in an ice cube tray with a bit of water, and freeze. Whenever you need some cilantro, just pop out a cube and add it to your cooking!
• Keep cilantro away from fruits like bananas, avocados, and tomatoes, which all emit ethylene gas, a ripening agent that can speed up the wilting process of your cilantro.