In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look into the history, health benefits, uses, and the best way on how to store cilantro. Read through till the end to learn a little more about your favorite vegetable.
Cilantro is an Apiaceae just like parsley, carrots, and celery. The herb is edible and is packed with a lot of antioxidants that are beneficial to the body. It also serves as a great way to spice your dishes.
How to Store Cilantro: What is Cilantro?
Cilantro is an annual herb that can be found in many parts of the world. It belongs to the Apiaceae family with other nutritious vegetables such as carrots and celery. The herb has a strong enticing taste that makes it a great addition to soups and stews. Native to parts of southern Europe, the herb is also commonly referred to as Coriander and Chinese parsley in parts of Asia.
The history of coriander dates back to 6,000 BC during the reign of the Egyptian Pharaohs. In a recent discovery traces of cilantro, remnants were found in a cave in Israel and in parts of ancient Egypt.
Cilantro was first used in modern civilization by early British settlers in North America during the 1670s.
An Edible Plant
Cilantro is grown abundantly in the United States in the states of California, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon. As an aromatic plant, all parts of the plant can be eaten, but the leaves and seeds are the most commonly used parts of the plant. The flowers of the plant mostly appear with white petals but they can also be pale pink depending on the soil conditions.
One of the many problems with cilantro is that it can be difficult to preserve especially if you have them in large quantities, but with the right methods, you can keep your vegetables fresh for whenever you need them.
How to Store Cilantro: Health Benefits of Cilantro
Cilantro is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that play important functions in the body. It contains vitamins A, C, K, including fat, carbs, and protein. Coriander also contains trace amounts of potassium, manganese, choline, and folate. It also contains the antioxidants lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Some of the many benefits of cilantro include:
Helps in Lead Detoxification
In a study conducted on rats, it was discovered that cilantro helps to suppress lead accumulation in their system. This shows that the plant may be a healthy way to reduce heavy metal toxicity in the body.
Serves as a Natural Preservative
When added to other foods, it was discovered that cilantro help to inhibit oxidation which delayed the time it takes for the food to spoil. The compound dodecanal found in the seeds and leaves plays a major role in the ability of the plant to kill Salmonella.
Treatment of Fungal Infection
The essential oils in coriander serve as a natural antifungal that helps to fight infections and reduce the side effects of other treatments. It contains carotenoids a strong antioxidant that helps to reduce the risks of eye disease and certain forms of cancer.
Helps to improve Skin Health
In a 2015 study, it was discovered that coriander extracts had the possibility of protecting the skin against Ultra Violet (UV) radiation that could lead to photoaging.
There are claims that cilantro possesses analgesic and inflammatory properties that could be useful in reducing pain in the body.
How to Store Cilantro: Uses of Cilantro
Cilantro has a lot of dietary usage due to its ability to add flavor to any dish or beverage. It is also free from extra fat, calories, and sodium making it a great vegetable for weight loss. The leaves are edible and can be eaten raw or half-cooked in order not to lose its medicinal properties and flavor. The vegetable is used
- As a major ingredient in Thai and Mexican dishes where the leaves are used in salsa and guacamole. It also pairs well with beans, eggs, fish, and cheese. It also serves as a great way to garnish salads, soups, and creamy vegetable dips. You can make your own homemade recipe using cilantro.
- The seeds are used as a spice due to their citrus taste when crushed. Also, the seeds are grown in large quantities in Australia, Morocco, and India for the purpose of extracting its oil for the preparation of essential oil.
How To Store Cilantro
One of the many problems with cilantro is in its storage. As a grower, it can be difficult for you to allow all that coriander leaves to go to waste. With the right storage methods, you can preserve your cilantro for weeks and even months for use at a later time. Without much effort, you can store your cilantro by:
1. Drying the Leaves
You can preserve your cilantro by keeping the leaves dry. After harvesting them, you should not rinse off the dirt or debris so as not to get them wet.
Then you have to trim the ends of the leave and tie bunches at the ends of the stem. You will need to hang bunches in an upturned position. You can do this by using a twine to tie the bunch to a hook or hanger.
Remember to hang them in a warm place away from direct sunlight where the leaves can get discolored.
2. Storing Cilantro in Ice Trays
You can store your fresh cilantro leaves in an ice tray for use in flavoring beverages. After harvesting the vegetable, you will need to rinse and drain the cilantro of excess water. You can now chop the flowers into small pieces with the aid of a knife before placing them in an ice tray.
Each slot on the tray should contain an even amount of chopped cilantro. Afterward, you can then cover the tray in water and freeze until they become ice. When ready for use, you can now use the ice to flavor beverages or allow melting for use in cooking.
3. Storing Cilantro in the Refrigerator
One of the best ways to store fresh cilantro is to refrigerate them. Once harvested, you need to trim the stems and keep the leaves dry. This means that you don’t have to rinse the leaves for dirt and debris before storage until the leaves are ready for use.
You will then need to fill a jar with a small amount of water and place the leaves with the freshly cut stem facing the bottom of the jar.
Using a plastic bag, loosely cover the herbs and endeavor to secure the bag in place. Covering the bag helps to avoid direct access to air that can speed the oxidation.
You can now keep the jar in the refrigerator until the leaves become discolored and wither. You will need to change the water in the jar periodically preferably after every 3 days.
If you have been thinking of growing cilantro in your garden and are worried about how to preserve the vegetable after harvest, with the methods above, you shouldn’t find any problems keeping your favorite spicy vegetable for whenever you require it in your dish or beverage.