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How to Use Fresh Cilantro

by
author image Shelley Frost
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience come from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.
How to Use Fresh Cilantro
How to Use Fresh Cilantro Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Cilantro features distinctive, jagged leaves and a strong flavor that is often present in Mexican dishes, but the fresh herb pairs well with a variety of foods. Try cilantro in soups, on sandwiches, in sauces and in your casseroles. Growing your own cilantro gives you constant access to fresh leaves. If you purchase your cilantro at the store, however, avoid leaves and stems that are limp, wilted or uneven in color. Use the cilantro right away for the best flavor.

Step 1

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Separate out the amount of cilantro you want to use in your recipe from the bunch.

Step 2

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Fill a bowl with cool water and swirl the cilantro around in the water to remove any dirt, bugs or sandy textures from the leaves.

Step 3

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Shake the cilantro leaves gently to remove any water left on the leaves.

Step 4

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Arrange the cilantro on paper towels and pat the tops of the leaves with another paper towel.

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Step 5

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Discard any leaves that are yellow or wilted. If a stem's leaves are only a little wilted, cut off the end of the stem and put it in cold water. The leaves will perk up slightly, making the leaves usable.

Step 6

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Pull off the leaves you want to use for the dish. The thin stems near the leaves can go into your food, but the thicker parts of the stems are chewy, especially in dishes that aren't cooked.

Step 7

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Cut the leaves into smaller pieces with kitchen shears or a knife if necessary. Limit chopping if possible as the leaves bruise easily.

Step 8

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Stir fresh cilantro into salsa, guacamole, salad dressing or other sauces for a burst of flavor.

Step 9

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Sprinkle fresh cilantro onto sandwiches, into salads and as a garnish for pasta dishes.

Step 10

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Stir cilantro into soups, stews and chili in the last minutes of cooking. This allows the cilantro to flavor the soup without becoming too wilted.

Step 11

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Mix cilantro into casseroles before baking them. As high heat reduces the herb's flavor somewhat, garnish the casserole with additional cilantro after it is baked.

Step 12

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Prepare a marinade for poultry products from olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, garlic cloves, cumin, salt and pepper. Soak the meat at least one hour before baking or grilling it for best results.

Step 13

How to Use Fresh Cilantro
Photo Credit Maryurys Connolly/Demand Media

Add cilantro to sauteed meat or vegetable dishes at the end of their cooking times.

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