If you’ve ever had cilantro in your fridge before, I’d venture to guess that it’s started to look like this a time or two…
You only need a bit of cilantro for your recipe and the remainder of the bunch starts to languish at the bottom of your vegetable drawer.
When it gets too more wilted, rotted, and sad you will throw it away.
But here’s my battle cry for today: no more! No more wasted cilantro!
In the spirit of the Salvage Chef whom I saw this weekend at the Miami Book Fair, I’m ready to start reducing waste in the kitchen. It starts today with this cilantro that has been in the fridge for a few days too long.
Maybe I’m one of the few people who didn’t realize you could freeze herbs. It makes so much sense but I was oblivious to it before this summer.
If you’ve also never frozen herbs, you’re in for a treat. This will make you feel alive on so many levels: salvaging something you would have thrown away, saving money, having cilantro at your beck and call the next time you need it…It’s exhilarating, really.
First things first, pull off any of the rotting leaves. Next, strip all of the leaves that are still good from their stems.
This is the part that takes the longest. At this point, your cilantro might start heckling you a bit. Just ignore him.
Take your pile of good leaves and chop them up a little bit.
Next, pack some of the leaves into the bottom of a muffin tin – or ice cube trays – it’s up to you. I put 1 Tbsp of leaves into each muffin tin. I think it’s handy to know the measurement for future reference since I’ll pop these into soups and sauces later on.
Then I gently added 1 1/2 Tbsp of water to each muffin cup – just enough to cover up the herbs so they can freeze into an ice cube of sorts. The water really isn’t an issue later on when I use these in recipes because it quickly evaporates upon hitting a hot pan or melts into soup with no effect on the flavor.
Pop the tin into the freezer. Once they’ve turned into herbalicious ice cubes, it’s time to free them from their confines.
When I tried this with ice cube trays, they came out easily. They needed to be coaxed out a little more when they were in muffin tins, though. I just ran some warm water on the back of the tin to loosen them up, then fished them out gently with a fork.
Voila! Since they were a little glassy looking from the warm water, I put the plate in the freezer once more so they could freeze as separate cubes. (Otherwise, they would stick together in a ziploc.)
There you have it. Hello, tame cilantro ice cubes!
Goodbye, belligerent cilantro!
Have you frozen herbs before? Which ones? Tell me, I want to try them all!