Wash cilantro in a large bowl (such as a salad spinner) of cold water. Change the water once or twice and wash again, until no more grit remains.
How to Dry Cilantro
As soon as the cilantro is washed clean, spin in a salad spinner. Alternatively, drain it in a large sieve and shake off the excess water.
Lay it out in one single layer on a paper towel to air dry.
How to Chop Cilantro
Grab the bunch of washed cilantro and lay it out on your cutting board. Cut off the large woody stems, at the point where the leaves start to grow.
Cut the cilantro leaves from one end of the bunch to the other, using a gentle rocking motion with a knife. Roughly or finely chop to your desired consistency.
How to Store Cilantro in the Fridge
Without Washing: Wrap the unwashed cilantro bunch in a clean paper towel and place in a plastic storage bag. The cilantro will keep for up to 1 week.
Mason Jar: Place the whole cilantro in a mason jar filled with an inch or two of cold water (just like flowers). Then cover it loosely with a plastic bag and store in the fridge. This is best when you want to cut off the leaves as needed. The cilantro should last for up to 1 week.
How to Store Whole Cilantro (Preferred Method)
Spread the washed and dried whole cilantro out onto a layer or two of clean paper towels, making sure not to smoosh down. Gently fold it twice to wrap the cilantro.
Add the wrapped cilantro to an airtight container and cover with the paper towel. Seal tight and place in the fridge. The cilantro should last up to 3 weeks! (Note: For best results, make sure to change the paper towel after 1 ½ weeks. And if you see any brown or bruised leaves, remove them as well).
How to Store Chopped Cilantro
Spread the chopped cilantro out onto a layer or two of clean paper towels as loosely as possible.
Place in an airtight container and seal tight. It should last for up to 2 weeks.
Sort through the cilantro and remove yellow or wilted leaves. The rotting leaves will actually make the cilantro rot even faster.
Dry the cilantro thoroughly. If the leaves are left with too much water, they will wilt and rot quickly.
Store cilantro whole rather than chopped. Washed and dried whole cilantro will keep for a few weeks longer than pre-chopped cilantro.
Store with a paper towel. This traps moisture and prevents the cilantro from becoming moldy or slimy.
Change out the paper towel after 10-14 days. This keeps the remaining cilantro as fresh as when you brought it home. Check again for wilted leaves and discard those too.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates based on 1 tablespoon cilantro (1 cup = 16 tablespoons). If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.