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Last of our three-part tips post: preservation

May 21, 2010

The last set of tips from our Centendium Giveaway were on reuse (and before that on cleaning).  We said that reuse comes up ahead of recycling because while the latter is better than landfill, its still an extremely energy intensive process. Preservation takes the gold star and its place at the same level or even above reuse because it retains embodied energy (as we say in buildings terminology) and prevents waste of valuable resources.  (These really a fair amount of overlap with the ideas in our reuse catagory – reusing your old parmesan rinds is pretty much the same as preserving them, so if you haven’t already, go check out that post for more ideas!)  Thanks to everyone who submitted tips and we hope that everyone will start using these ideas at home.  And if you have your own tips to add, please share them in the comments below.


I use cilantro in cooking quite a bit, but unfortunately not enough to prevent the inevitable: several days after purchasing the cilantro I go to the fridge to take it out only to find a slimy, inedible mess….Well! I have discovered that if you wrap the cilantro in a papertowel (i don’t wash it first to prevent any extra moisture) and put it in a small plastic bag (the one is comes in, or i use roti bags that i always keep and reuse), the cilantro will last fairly well for over a week. I think the papertowel absorbs some of the moisture. -tip by Sarah

I haven’t tried it with cilantro, but it works well with fresh basil: finely chop it and put it into ice cube trays, add water to top, and then freeze. Transfer to a zip top bag, and add to soups or other liquid based recipes! May be worth trying with cilantro. -tip by rcakewalk

If you love using garlic, but hate having to peel/smash/chop up them every time you need to use them for cooking, here’s what you can do:

1. Take an airtight glass jar
2. Dice up a few heads of garlic into small bits
3. Add a handful of salt over the garlic bits
4. Sweep it all into the jar and add olive oil (or your oil of choice) till it just covers the top of your garlic pile.
5. Refrigerate and just scoop out a spoonful or two every time you need to cook!  Your jar will last you for quite some time and you only need to deal with garlicky smelling hands when you need to replenish your empty jar!  -tip by Denise K

During the hot & humid Chicago summers, I would brew a full pot of coffee and freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays and use it for iced coffee. No more watered-down iced coffee! -tip by Melissa Wagner

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2010 10:05 am

    I like the cilantro tip I will certainly remember that one. Diane

  2. May 21, 2010 5:42 pm

    Those are some great tips for preserving herbs. This is my first visit to your blog but it won’t be the last. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary

  3. May 25, 2010 9:43 am

    I use a lot of cilantro too, and I’ve started storing it in my salad spinner. It’s always so muddy, so I wash and spin the bunch and store it in there, where it keeps really well. It’s bulky, but if you’ve got room in the fridge…

    • May 25, 2010 1:36 pm

      Sadly, I do not have space for a salad spinner in my too small fridge, but that sounds like a good option for those with more space!


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