Jul 6, 2023
Cilantro is a great herb that adds that earthy, pungent kick to your dishes. It’s rich in antioxidants, rich in minerals, a natural diuretic, and helps ease nausea. But what is the difference between freeze dried cilantro vs fresh cilantro?
This is cilantro preserved through the freeze-drying process. It goes through three phases: freezing, primary drying (sublimation), and secondary drying (adsorption). The freezing part is the most crucial as freezes the food at -30 to -50 degrees Fahrenheit. This phase locks in the flavor and nutrients of the cilantro.
The magic happens in phase two, where moisture in the cilantro (in the form of ice) is removed as gas. Phase three removes all the residual moisture, leaving behind cilantro that’s light, crunchy and airy – yet packed with flavor. What’s more, the appetizing green color of fresh cilantro stays. Totally unlike the dehydrated herbs you get that are a bit tough and pale.
People like fresh cilantro because it has this bright, clean, crisp flavor that’s a bit on the tangy citrus side. Some even describe is having a bit of peppery taste.
What you need to know, though, is that cilantro is 92.2% water. Now, imagine what will happen when 93% of that water content is removed? You get this intense, citrusy, and a bit of peppery flavor of cilantro. It’s very safe to say that freeze-dried cilantro is twice as flavorful as the fresh one.
Freeze-dried cilantro can last for both short-term and long-term storage.
Store them in air-tight, sealed containers like Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers; they can last for 25+ years.
But once opened, it can last for 6 months to a year. That would depend on the temperature and humidity where you put the opened jar of cilantro.
Many who freeze-dry cilantro at home say freeze-dried cilantro is as good as fresh cilantro. It’s because, unlike air-drying and dehydrating, the cilantro is kept away from light and high temperatures. These two are known to break down nutrients as well as the flavor and appearance of your cilantro.
Generally, the rule of thumb here is that you use dried herbs when you’re cooking a dish for more than a few minutes. You then use fresh herbs when you’re minutes away from serving or eating a dish.
But with freeze-dried cilantro, you can be a little flexible with when and how you use it. Some sprinkle them on top of fried eggs, others on tacos. Whether you use it while cooking hearty meals, or a refreshing salad, it’s up to you!
Since freeze-dried cilantro has a more intense flavor than fresh ones, follow the rule of thirds. If a recipe calls for a tablespoon of fresh cilantro, use only 1/3 tablespoon of or a teaspoon of freeze-dried cilantro.
If it’s your first time cooking with freeze-dried cilantro, better do a taste test. It’s better to work with less because you can always add more. It’s harder to fix a dish that’s overpowered with cilantro goodness.
Freeze drying cilantro is easy to do.
If you love herbs and you have grown your own cilantro at home for years, you wouldn’t think you need to store cilantro. But here’s another difference between freeze dried cilantro vs fresh.
But then, it’s good to have cilantro in-between seasons that has almost the same flavor. Fresh herbs are great, but let’s face it. They don’t keep very long. Having freeze-dried cilantro makes sure you have the same cilantro flavor all-year-round.
Freeze drying is also a huge advantage if you live in a place where cilantro is hard to come by, fresh or otherwise. If you happen to score yourself a good bunch, then go ahead and freeze-dry so you have some for your next guacamole, tacos, or salsa.
There’s a certain crips flavor that you’ll get from fresh cilantro that you won’t get with dried. But with freeze-dried cilantro, many are saying that they taste as good as fresh. The only difference is that the leaves are dry, airy, and crunchy because of nearly zero moisture content.
Now, if you’re a fan of cilantro because of its many health benefits, don’t worry. Freeze-drying retains 97% of the herb’s nutritional value. You can be confident that your preserved cilantro will serve as well as the fresh ones you picked from the garden.
Have you ever tried using freeze dried cilantro or making your own batch? How was it? What method did you use? Share your experience with us in the comment section.