There’s no substitute for the fresh flavor of just-picked herbs, but the frustration of getting the grit out of, say, cilantro can make you skip them altogether. Don’t reach for the dry stuff yet, though: Follow the steps in this video for a fast, efficient prep and chop.

What You Need

  • cutting board, chef's knife, cilantro bunch, large bowl of cool water, paper towels, plastic bag

Follow These Steps

  1. “Dunk and swish” the cilantro in water
    Before chopping, dunk and swish cilantro in the water bowl, holding it by the stems. For very muddy herbs, change water and repeat this step until it’s mostly clear.
  2. Shake off the excess water
    Shake cilantro well to remove the excess water.
  3. Pat dry with paper towels
    Using paper towels, pat cilantro dry. Set paper towels aside for later.
  4. Start slicing through the stems
    Begin slicing through stems with your chef’s knife. Slice off only as much as you need; the unused portion will last longer uncut.
  5. Rock the knife back and forth for a finer chop
    Holding your knife’s tip steady on the board while you rock the blade back and forth, finely chop cilantro. Take care not to over-chop, or cilantro will turn black.
  6. Store any unused herbs
    Wrap unused cilantro in damp paper towels used in Step 3, and place inside a resealable plastic bag. Your herbs will last three to five days in the refrigerator, as long as you keep the paper towel slightly damp.

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