Cilantro is a versatile herb that adds a unique flavor to many dishes, especially those in Mexican, Indian, and Thai cuisines. However, cilantro can easily wilt away and lose its flavor within a week or two. Dehydrating cilantro is one of the easiest and cost-effective ways to preserve freshness and ensure a steady supply of cilantro throughout the year. This guide will provide an in-depth tutorial on how to dehydrate cilantro and store it for future use.
Step 1: Washing and Drying
The first step in dehydrating cilantro is to wash and dry the leaves thoroughly. It is crucial to pick only the best leaves and discard the leaves that are discolored or have any sign of rot or mold. Rinse the cilantro leaves in a colander under cold water and drain the leaves to remove excess water. Pat the leaves dry with paper towels to remove any remaining moisture.
Step 2: Preparing the Dehydrator
Dehydrating cilantro involves removing all the moisture from the leaves. So, the next step is to prepare the dehydrator. Check your dehydrator’s manual for setting the temperature to 95°F – 115°F. Arrange the cilantro leaves in a single layer on the dehydrator’s trays, making sure they don’t overlap. Leave enough space between the leaves to allow for air circulation, which is crucial for drying the leaves evenly.
Tips for Dehydrating Cilantro
- Do not stack the cilantro leaves on top of each other;
- Ensure all the cilantro leaves are dry, or else they will not dry out as required;
- Avoid overcrowding the dehydrator tray to enable even air flow;
- Choose the best leaves and discard any yellow, brown or badly damaged leaves.
Step 3: Dehydrating Cilantro
Once the dehydrator is set up, slide the tray with the cilantro leaves into the dehydrator. Leave the dehydrator to run for 2-4 hours, depending on the thickness of the cilantro leaves. You will know the cilantro is dry when it crumbles in your hand. Once the cilantro leaves are dry, the water content will have been almost completely removed. That means the leaves will be much smaller, and this is entirely normal.
How Long Does it Take to Dehydrate Cilantro?
The process can take 2-4 hours depending on various factors, such as the thickness and moisture of the cilantro leaves and the dehydrator’s model.
Step 4: Storing Dehydrated Cilantro
Once the cilantro leaves are dry, place them in an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed plastic bag. Store the container in a cool, dry, and dark place. This will help prevent moisture from getting into the container, thus keeping the dried cilantro fresh for future use.
How to Use Dehydrated Cilantro
The versatility of cilantro does not diminish once it has been dehydrated. It can still be used in the same way fresh cilantro leaves. Dehydrated cilantro is perfect for adding to soups, stews, curries, marinades, and salads. You can rehydrate the cilantro by soaking it in water for thirty minutes to bring back its fresh flavor.
How to Rehydrate Cilantro
Place 1 tablespoon of dried cilantro in a bowl and cover it with a cup of boiling water. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes before draining the leaves.
The Benefits of Dehydrating Cilantro
Dehydrating cilantro has several benefits, including:
- Dehydrated cilantro takes up less storage space compared to fresh cilantro;
- Dehydrated cilantro has a longer shelf life than fresh cilantro;
- Dehydrated cilantro is readily available, and you don’t have to depend on the supermarket for fresh cilantro leaves.
With the steps outlined in this guide, you can rest assured that your cilantro will retain its freshness even after dehydrating it. Dehydrated cilantro is an excellent addition to your cupboard, and with the tips we have provided here, you will be able to store it for months without losing its unique flavor. So, get your dehydrator out, grab fresh cilantro leaves, and start dehydrating!
Most Common Questions About How to Dehydrate Cilantro
- Can I dehydrate cilantro in an oven?
Yes, you can also dry cilantro leaves in the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the cilantro leaves on the tray, and bake at 170°F for 2 to 3 hours until the cilantro is dry and crumbly.
- Can I use a microwave to dehydrate cilantro?
Yes, but it is not recommended as the cilantro will not dry evenly.
- Can I dehydrate cilantro stems?
Yes, the steams and leaves can be dehydrated. Cut the stems into smaller pieces and arrange them on the dehydrator’s tray.
- How long does dehydrated cilantro last?
The dried cilantro can last for up to a year if stored correctly in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place.
- How to Dehydrate Herbs and Vegetables: Preserve The Season’s Bounty, Heiser, Laura.
- How to Dry Herbs at Home: The Ultimate Guide, Richardson, Madalene.