Powdered Sugar Is The Unexpected Way To Revive Wilted Cilantro

Cilantro is one of the least expensive and most flavorful herbs — and it can spice up any dish from guacamole to a zesty pesto sauce. Unfortunately, it has a short shelf life, wilting after just a few days in the fridge. But there's good news. You can salvage a sad bunch of wilted cilantro with an unexpected dessert staple: powdered sugar!

This simple cilantro revival trick involves stirring a teaspoon of powdered sugar into a jar of cold water until it's dissolved, then placing a bunch of cilantro in it, stems first. You can leave the twisty tie around the stems to keep the cilantro from falling out of the mason jar or receptacle. Then, place the cilantro and sugar water mixture in the fridge. After an overnight stint in the cold, wilted cilantro will perk up, returning to its original freshness. This hack will also extend its shelf life for another day or two.

The idea behind adding sugar to water instead of just using ice or cold water as you would with root vegetables is that sugar water revives herbs by feeding them. Sugar water is a common tool to aid in plant growth or to resurrect plants that wilt after being transplanted. Cilantro may not have its roots, but its stems will still absorb the sugar and water, providing the energy the herb needs to revive itself.

More tips for keeping your cilantro fresh

The sugar water hack, while effective, is a last-ditch effort to keep your fresh herbs from ending up in the trash. If you want to be proactive about the shelf life of your cilantro, there are other steps that you can take while it's still fresh. To maximize your cilantro's life, you can start by looking for the freshest bunch at the grocery store. The easiest way to pick fresh cilantro is by sight and smell. Cilantro leaves and stems should be bright green, perky, firm, and very fragrant.

Making sure the stems aren't too tightly packed in a bunch will also safeguard against bruising and excess moisture accumulation as you transport them in your shopping bag. Once home, preparing your cilantro for storage is especially important to maximize its lifespan. Freshness depends on a delicate balance between moisture and dryness: Too much moisture will turn the leaves slimy and black, while too much dry air will cause leaves to shrivel and wilt.

The two most effective methods to maintain balanced moisture and dryness are either keeping the bunch in a vase or jar of water in the fridge or storing the stems in smaller bundles, wrapped in moist paper towels. Whichever method you choose, you'll need to use a Ziploc bag to cover the leaves or enclose the paper-wrapped bundles. These hacks can help keep your cilantro fresh for up to three weeks.