Can I freeze Cilantro??

dgkritch(Z8 OR)July 27, 2006

Danged stuff wants to go to seed and the toms aren't ready!!

Dang it! Dang it! Dang it!

Have you ever frozen it to use in salsa later?

If not, I'll be the guinea pig! Enough for the first 3 batches chopped and in the freezer.

Did I waste my time? Or will it be oK since it's going to get cooked and canned. Will it still maintain some flavor?


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fair0906(z5 Colo)

After freezing, it will never be the same. But if you are using it for a soup, try freezing it packed in water in ice cube trays. That keeps my basil from blackening. Otherwise, the best storage for cilantro is canned with salsa.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 4:43PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

It definitely turns to mush, and loses a lot of flavour. I've stopped bothering to try.

However, if you cut the stems and put them in a jar of water, put a plastic baggie upside down over the lot and use a rubber band to hold it snug to the jar, it keeps for something like two weeks in the fridge. Come to think of it, I should go do that with mine, which is also flowering; I only have a few toms barely ripening but I hope to have a batchful in two weeks!


    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 5:11PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

So........if the only thing I use it for is Salsa, there's really no point in growing it. It "ripens" before the tomatoes are ready & doesn't keep well.
It's cheap to buy when I need it.
Hmmmmm...will have to evaluate.

HEY! What about freezing it in some vinegar or lemon juice rather than water)? I could just reduce recipe requirements by same amount!!??!?!?

I will try the frozen in ONE batch of salsa. Really couldn't ruin it I wouldn't think. Anyone of different opinion on this?


    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 6:21PM
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You might try growing culantro (Eryngium foetidum). It grows better in the heat. I'm in FL and can only grow cilantro as a winter crop.

Culantro grows fine all summer long here (in shade) has a similar taste, but a little stronger. I chop it and mix w/ a little water to freeze in cubes for later.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 6:39PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Cilantro is one of the shortest term herbs there is. Its flavor and aroma get lost very fast (extremely volitile). You can dry it or freeze it, but as mentioned its not going to give you the same bold taste. Picking some now, and placing it in water (like a flower in a vase) may hold down the bolting a little. If all else fails, you can usually get a nice big bunch at your local supermarket. Even for that, if its in a salsa, and canned, its flavor gets lost quickly. The best way to enjoy it is to chop it fresh and mix it in. When I plan to use it, I do several plantings about 2-3 weeks apart. This way, I usually have a continous supply.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 10:42PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

When I have frozen cilantro I could not tell it apart from my frozen parsley, that is how much flavor it loses. No point in freezing it. I have thought of making a cilantro flavored vinegar, and then using that vinegar in the salsa.

One solution is to plant the cilantro way after you plant the tomatoes. I just started picking my tomatoes this week and the cilantro is all starting to go to seed, so I am in the same boat. The tomatoes that are ripe are just the Early Girls anyway, I never can those, just eat them since they are the first tomatoes.

I have eaten culantro, my sister in Florida grows it. Amazing how it looks so different and tastes so similar. I should ask sis to save me seeds or send me a plant or something. What I am doing now is just using as much fresh cilantro in things (burritos, sandwiches, rice, whatever) as possible. I really love cilantro. It is worth growing to me because 1) mine is organic, and 2) those big bunches they sell are too big to use up before they rot unless you are making a big batch of salsa.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 1:07AM
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mellyofthesouth(9a FL)

Wow, I've never heard of culantro. Thanks for the tip. I've always had trouble with it bolting.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 2:55AM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


Gardening books are always saying to start a new batch of cilantro and dill every few weeks so that you always have some to harvest. I can't say I know any home gardener who does this (I always mean to, but....). However, I did once sometimes start a second batch in June; it was heck to keep it watered enough when it was small but I did get a lot of cilantro ready when the tomatoes were comin' in fast.

It also helps that the bolting doesn't seem to harm the flavour as it does with basil -- you can even eat the flowers.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 10:20AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Cilantro has also been known as coriander, but that coriander is the final seed (actually a fruit) that forms. Interestingly, the cilantro leaves don't even have a similar flavor to the coriander. Coriander is used in making some sausages, and some pickles. I have even added it to baked beans.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 10:58AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

I did actually start some cilantro later (amazing, I actually DID it)....then we had our big heat wave and it just sat there for a long time and some didn't survive. I have about 4 or 5 plants that are only 6" tall. I might get a leaf or two off each.

Then there's the batch that's only 2" tall.........2nd heat wave of the season.......well, they're only 2" tall....'nuff said!!

Maybe it's just one of those years....Ah....the joys (and pains) of gardening.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 11:18AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Yes, cilantro needs to be planted in shade, as it doesn't like full sun or lots of heat.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 11:29AM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

Deanna, wow, you actually did plant three times! And still got zapped. Makes me feel better for usually forgetting to start more.... ;-)


    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 2:34PM
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what about make a pesto without pine nuts and freezing it in cubes

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 3:03PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

No. Cilantro has lost most of its smell and taste within 5 days of picking, storage and chopping. If its mixed with pine nuts and made into a pesto, it will degrade much faster. Simply put, there is nothing better than fresh.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 3:26PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Cilantro is definitely one of the more troublesome herbs for me.

All the sources I've seen have mentioned that drying is unsatisfactory but freezing is an acceptable second-best alternative to fresh. The thing is, the texture and color will be different, so the frozen cilantro would be used differently in cooking, not so much for salsa but for marinades, etc.

You can freeze the leaves; vacuum-sealing to keep out the air helps tremendously. Or you can freeze chopped as a "slurry" with water or oil.

Cilantro butter is also a possibility; Burpee recommends 4 parts butter, 2 parts cilantro, 1/2 part lemon juice. Good melted on frozen corn for a taste of summer.

I know of one person who has made and frozen a "cilantro pesto" he swears by, especially for marinating chicken, fish, etc. - no real "recipe" but a blender-full of washed and dried leaves and stems blended with juice of several limes and about 1/4 cup of olive oil.

Finally, it's not freezing but canning. This is a recipe from KatieC, one of our master food preservers who pops in from time-to-time. She was one of the instructors with Annie for this summer's Canny Camp. Jessy had a favorite Sunset recipe and asked KatieC if she could come up with a way to safely can it. I haven't seen it on Harvest for a long time, and it's worth repeating:

Lime-Chipotle Sauce

Recipe By :Katie

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons brown mustard -- or dijon
1/2 cup lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Season with salt and pepper

Blend in food processor. Serve sauce as a marinade grilled meats, poultry, and fish if your guests don't get to it first with tortilla chips. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

"Jessy- from Sunset Magazine"
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

NOTES : This can be canned in a boiling waterbath for 15 min. at 0-1000 ft., 20 min. at 1001-6000 ft. and 25 min. above 6000 ft.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 4:46PM
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ardnek710(z6 stlouis)

I have also gotten tired of trying to time dill and cilantro with other crops. Also around here by mid spring through late summer it is warm enough that they both start to go to seed when only a few inches high. Nothing to pick there.
I decided to let them grow more naturally, I picked a spot in my garden planted dill and cilantro in a rather half-hazard way (like seeds just dropping from the plant). Once they sprout I pick and trim when I need one of the flavors but otherwise I let them go to seed right there. I don't collect the seed but let it drop where it does in the small bed. After about a year of letting them reproduce on their own cycle, I have fresh dill and cilantro at about any given time and always have new plants germinating as old plants drop seeds and dry up. It is much much easier and the spot in my perennial bed that I chose works perfect since the rest of the bed does the same thing...:)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 6:02PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I plant cilantro every three weeks throughout the growing season. I have terrible germination rates during July and August and think that heat inhibits the seedlings. Cerain types of soils that retain coolness and moisture seem better for summer germination. Making salsa in late August can be challenging since fresh home grown cilantro is often my limiting ingredient.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2006 at 8:28PM
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kcindallas(8 Dallas)

I know this thread is a year old, but since it's July and the same problem could arise at this time of year - my friend chops the cilantro and freezes it generously covered in water in ice cube trays. Not sure on the taste after freezing, she is of Mexican decent and cooks everything from scratch!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 8:02AM
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I dehydrate all extra cilantro that I can't use before it mushes up. When fresh garden cilantro is not available, the dehydrated is used in salsas which are canned without cilantro. Slightly crush and stir some into a freshly opened jar of salsa and let it set for a day or two in the fridge before using. Not quite as good as fresh but still very good. Also good in many other things if given a chance to mingle flavors a bit... especially pintos cooked with jalapeños, onions, garlic and diced tomatoes then cilantro just minutes before serving... Goooood stuff!

I love having some dehydrated cilantro on hand as I am not always happy with what is available at the markets here... and it IS better than none at all.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 3:06AM
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I plant one cilantro plant in the spring (after last frost) and let it go to seed. I harvest all of the seed (coriander) and plant about 5 seeds a week through out the summer. This gives me a good supply of cilantro all summer and into the fall. Don't forget to let one of your plants go to seed at the end of the year so you can have seeds for next year!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 12:41AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Cilnatro is very volitile and can only hold onto aroma or taste for just a few days as fresh. If frozen or dried, its taste is almost totally lost.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 2:44AM
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growing cilantro for salsa. One of gardening's cruel ironies. I guess I will keep growing it in a pot on the patio in the shade and hope it works.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 11:50PM
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I have 2 plants growing right now - and you people that say grow it in the shade are crazy. Cilantro loves the sun. I have 2 plants in sunlight for at least 6 hours and that are both huge!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 10:21AM
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