Freezing cilantro is a tricky subject, but it’s one familiar to many since the herb comes in bigger bundles than most people can’t use at a sitting. The result is that a significant amount of cilantro can go to waste unless steps are taken to preserve it.
While it can be dried, most cooks will tell you that dried cilantro is not ideal if you want the flavor and texture of the fresh herb. Freezing is a popular method, especially if you intend to store your cilantro long term. So yes, you can freeze cilantro, but there are things to consider. We answer many common questions below.
How long will cilantro last in a freezer?
Cilantro takes very well to freezing as long as you keep a few factors in mind. For instance, cilantro’s flavor is very volatile and fades quickly after it is harvested. The cilantro you buy in the produce section of the grocery store has already lost much of its flavor.
All that said, freezing is the best way to preserve cilantro’s distinctive character, but how long cilantro lasts in the freezer depends on how well you protect it. Cilantro’s soft and fragile leaves can quickly turn to a slimy mush if you are careless with the freezing process. Cilantro can last for as long as six months in the freezer if you freeze it properly.
Will cilantro taste different when dethawed?
Freezing is the best method for storing cilantro because of how well it can preserve the taste. The fast and easy way to store cilantro in the freezer is to place it in a resealable plastic bag and stick it in your freezer. This method works in the sense that it will keep the cilantro from going bad and preserve its taste; however, it is not ideal. The leaves will still be damaged during freezing and thawing, so don’t expect the bright, vibrant green color or the crisp texture than your cilantro had when you put it in the freezer.
You can do a better job of preserving both flavor and texture by freezing cilantro with a little olive oil and by using ice cube trays. Place chopped cilantro in the trays and then fill with water and oil then freeze. Remove the cubes from the trays and place them in freezer bags.
Yet another way to freeze cilantro to preserve the taste is to place the herb on a cookie sheet and stick it in your freezer for an hour or so. Experts recommend drying the leaves thoroughly first. Once the herbs are frozen, remove them from the cookie tray and bag them up for long-term storage in your freezer.
What are the best use cases for cilantro that’s been stored in the freezer?
When you thaw frozen cilantro out, it is best to use it in cooked dishes or other applications where the texture is not as important. For example, you can use frozen and thawed cilantro in guacamole with no real loss of quality. Storing cilantro in ice cube trays can make adding it to cooked dishes easier. Experts recommend not thawing frozen cilantro before using it. Pop a cube into the dish as it cooks.
Does cilantro that was frozen and thawed have a shorter shelf life than fresh cilantro?
Cilantro will be limp once it is thawed and will go bad in much less time than the fresh herb.