Drying cilantro (or drying coriander) is a great way to preserve the herb if you have just pruned your cilantro plant, or have a lot to harvest at the end of the growing season. This post has all the details on how to dry cilantro quickly and easily at home.
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How to dry cilantro at home
Cilantro is a fast-growing, easy-to-grow herb that adds a unique flavor to many dishes. It goes well with many types of cuisenes and is a handy herb to have a constant supply of in your kitchen.
Cilantro is relatively easy to keep in your garden or indoor herb garden throughout the summer, and it is easy to dry at the end of the growing season, so you can still have a supply of cilantro to add to stews, soups, and other dishes during the winter months.
Drying cilantro (also known as coriander) is very easy, as long as you follow a few simple steps to ensure that it stays flavorful.
Drying cilantro techniques
Cilantro is a delicate herb and best air dried to ensure its flavor is preserved. Using heat to dry herbs if often not a good idea as the aromatic oils that give herbs their flavor are easily lost when the herb is heated. See this article for more: Why You Should Never Use Heat to Dry Herbs.
If you have a dehydrator, then this can be used for drying cilantro, however it is not necessary. If you don’t have a dehydrator, there are two basic methods for air drying cilantro:
- Dry between sheets of paper or parchment – best for a few sprigs to a small bunch of cilantro
- Dry hanging bunches – best if you have more than a small bunch to dry
First, prepare the cilantro by gently washing it in cool fresh water, and then pat it dry with paper towels, taking care not to crush the leaves. Then follow one of the methods below.
Method 1. Drying cilantro on paper
Parchment paper is ideal for drying herbs the type of paper you use is important, coated baking papers or waxed papers will not work. You can also use paper towels.
All you need to do is lay the cilantro in a single layer between two sheets of parchment and leave undisturbed until it has dried out.
It is important that the air can circulate while the cilantro is drying, so don’t cover it with anything other than the parchment paper.
When the cilantro has been spread on the drying paper, it needs to be placed in a warmish dry location until the water is gone from the leaves.
I find that high up in my kitchen is a good location, so I place the drying tray on top of my kitchen cupboards. It is warm all day long, though doesn’t get too hot.
2. Drying cilantro by hanging bunches
If you have a lot of cilantro to dry, then hanging it in bunches is a good technique to use.
All you need to do is tie the harvested cilantro into small bunches with twine. Loosely cover the herb bunch with a large paper bag to keep the dust off. Then hang the bunches upside down in a warm place where they won’t be disturbed. Again, I find up high in my kitchen is an ideal spot.
You will probably find that it takes a little longer to dry the cilantro using this method, but if you have more than one tray’s worth of herbs to dry, then using the method above isn’t really practical for most of us.
Storing dried cilantro
Store dried cilantro in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag in a cool dark place for up to 12 months.
Find more info on storing dried herbs in this post: How to store dried herbs.
Drying Cilantro Instruction Card
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- Scissors, shears or a knife
- Large tray or baking sheet and baking parchment or paper towels OR
- Garden twine or string and a paper bag
Harvest the Cilantro and Prepare
- Harvest the cilantro - cut the cilantro when the leaves are mature (darker green).
- Wash the cilantro thoroughly. Gently shake off excess water and pat dry with a paper towel.
Technique 1: Dry Cilantro on Paper
- Prepare the drying surface - line a large tray, baking sheet or other flat surface with parchment paper or paper towels.
- Spread cilantro stalks out in a single layer on the prepared drying surface.
- Place another layer of parchment or paper towels over the cilantro.
- Place the tray in a warm dry area where it will not be disturbed, and leave to dry.
Technique 2: Dry Bunches of Cilantro
- Tie cilantro into small bunches - take a small handful of cilantro stalks and loop the twine tightly around the bunch a few times and secure with a knot.
- Loosely cover the bunch with a large paper bag or a paper towel to keep the dust off.
- Hang the bunches of cilantro in a warm dry are where they will not be disturbed, and leave to dry completely.
Collect and store dried cilantro
- It will take a few days for the cilantro to dry - after 4 days start to check daily to see when the leaves have lost all their moisture. When they are ready they will feel crunchy rather than bend.
- When the cilantro leaves have completely dried out remove from the parchment, remove from the stems by shaking and use a knife to gently scrape the stems. The leaves should fall off easily.
- Finely chop the dried cilantro leaves and store in an air tight jar or pot.
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