Ever tire of cilantro becoming slimy and black after only a few days in the fridge? Here’s a tip for keeping them fresh forever. Maybe not forever, but certainly much longer than one has a right to expect. I’ve successfully kept cilantro alive and fresh for two weeks until all of it was gone, an impossibility when left in the plastic produce bag from the market.
It’s best to do the following when the cilantro is brought home. Remove the cilantro from the produce bag, toss out the twister and throw away any stems and leaves that are past their prime or are already bent. While holding the stems together loosely in your hand, rinse thoroughly under cool running water to remove dirt. This step obviates the need to rinse the leaves again. Remove excess moisture by shaking or lightly whacking the bunch on the side of the sink (my preferred method). Cut off about 1″ of the stems at the root end.
Find a glass jar just tall enough to let most of the leaves stick up over the rim like a flower arrangement. You don’t want a jar that’s too short or too tall. Fill the jar with a couple inches of water. Place the bunch into the jar, making sure that all the stems are submerged in water. Allow the cilantro to dry off on the countertop until almost dry, about 2 hours. Drape the produce bag loosely over the entire arrangement; it isn’t necessary to tuck the bag under the bottom of the glass. Place the jar in the refrigerator. The cilantro will keep fresh for many days. All you need to do is change the water whenever it starts to discolor and cull stems and leaves that are yellowing. Without the bag cover, the cilantro will wilt.