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Culinary Tips The easiest way to prep and chop Cilantro

It's not as hard as you think.

  • Published:
chopping herbs play

chopping herbs

(Image by Men's Health)

There are a few kitchen tasks that make you want to put down your chef's knife, remove your apron, shake your fist at the heavens, and roar, "enough is enough!"

Here's a shortlist of those tasks:

  1. Peeling more than a half pound of shrimp.

  2. Hand-whisking homemade whipped cream.

  3. Cleaning a blender or food processor.

  4. Halving more than four cherry tomatoes.

  5. Picking cilantro leaves.

You’re here because of that last one, and I feel your pain. There’s nothing like having to pick through a bunch of cilantro, pulling the leaves from the stem as some sort of exercise in the limits of human patience.

I’m here to rescue from your turmoil. Here’s the best way to prepare and chop cilantro:

Step 1: Remove the cilantro from the supermarket bag.

Hey, nice work! See, I told you it was easy.

Step 2: Rinse the cilantro.

Take the entire bunch of the stuff and rinse it under cold water directly from the top. Give the bunch a turn and a tussle every now and then. When the cilantro no longer feels sandy, you’re good to move on.

Step 3: Shake the cilantro dry.

Pretend that the bunch is a maraca and shake that thing into the sink until it’s dry. It’s up to you whether or not you actually want to play Usher’s 2002 “She Got the Part,” the chorus in which features the mentioned maracas. I don't usually do this. Usually.

Step 4: Chop the whole dang bunch, from the leaves inward.

Don’t pick the leaves. Repeat: Do not pick the leaves. Instead, place the bunch flat on a cutting board and chop. If some of the stems get into the food, you will not die. In fact, you will live a richer, more flavorful life.

Hey, want more amazing tricks and astounding, quick-and-easy meals you can make in just one pan? Of course you do. Check out our new cookbook, A Man, A Pan, A Plan.

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