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How to Chop Cilantro

Did you know cilantro is the same thing as coriander? Cilantro is the Spanish name for the herb, while coriander stems from French.

Cilantro also is known as Chinese parsley, which makes sense. How many times have you bought cilantro and watched the grocery clerk ring it up as parsley?

Cilantro has a tart, lemon/lime taste and a distinctive aroma. It’s a great accent for guacamole, salsa, beef, pork, and makes a great chimichurri sauce (in place of parsley).

A small percentage of people (4-14%), think cilantro tastes like soap. They actually have a scientific excuse.

It turns out, these individuals have a gene that detects aldehyde chemicals, which are present in cilantro, as well as bath soap. Who knew?

File 1 - Cilantro

How to Wash Cilantro

Cilantro is usually quite dirty and needs extra attention to clean it.

  • Fill a medium bowl with cold water.
  • Dunk the cilantro bunch in the water, swirling it around.
  • Drain the water and repeat until the water in the bowl is clear.
  • Shake out the excess water from your cilantro, then dry it on paper towels.

How to Chop Cilantro Leaves

  1. Place a clean bunch of cilantro on a cutting board.
  2. Grasp the stems with one hand, and hold the bunch at an angle, so the stems are in the air and the leaves are resting on the board.
  3. Run a chef’s knife along the stems to slice off the leaves.
  4. Chop the leaves with your knife until they are the desired size.
File 2 - Cilantro

Can You Eat the Stems of Cilantro?

Yes, you can eat the cilantro stems along the upper part of the bunch. Just chop them up with the leaves and use them in your dishes. The lower stems are safe to eat but will be tough.

How to Chop Cilantro (with the stems)

If you want to chop the upper stems along with the leaves, cut off the top 3 inches or so of your washed cilantro. Roll up the top leaves and stems and hold them together with one hand while you use your other hand to run a knife through them.

File 3 - Cilantro

Storing Cilantro

  • When you first buy cilantro, place it standing up in a jar or tall plastic container with a few inches of water. Loosely cover the leaves with a plastic bag and store the cilantro in the refrigerator for a couple weeks.
  • Once you’ve washed and dried your cilantro and cut off the bottom stems, store any you’re not using right away in a resealable plastic bag with a damp paper towel. Place the bag in the refrigerator.
  • You can freeze chopped cilantro in freezer bags.