Cilantro (kasbour) and parsley (maadnous) are two herbs which almost every Moroccan cook uses daily. They add flavor to tagines, salads, soups, sides and more, and it's not uncommon to use two, three or more bunches for a single meal preparation.
Here are some tips for cleaning, prepping and storing these essential herbs:
- Storing parsley and cilantro. If you don't have time to work with the herbs right away, or won't be using them for a day or two, place them in a plastic bag with a paper towel or two to absorb moisture; store them in the fridge until needed.
- Prepping cilantro and parsley. For recipes which require chopping the herbs, you'll want to pick the leaves from the stems before washing. Unless you need chopped parsley as a garnish, it's okay to have small, thin pieces of stems still attached to the leaves, but do discard the thicker stems.
- Washing parsely and cilantro. Fresh leafy herbs are best washed in large bowls of water. Swish the herbs around the water to loosen dirt, and then lift the herbs out of the water and transfer to a collander for draining. Repeat the washing with fresh water once or twice more, until no dirt or residue is visible on the bottom of the bowl used for washing. Leave the herbs to drain thoroughly before using.
- Storing washed parsley and cilantro. Wash the herbs separately and transfer them to separate towel-lined trays. Leave for several hours to dry completely, then transfer to plastic bags. Place a paper towel in the bag to absorb moisture, and store for up to 5 days in the fridge.
- Freezing parsely and cilantro. Large quantities of leafy herbs can be washed, chopped and frozen for later use in tagines, soups and other cooked dishes. You won't want to use frozen parsley as a garnish, however; nor will you want to use it in a cold salad which calls for fresh parsley. I find a freezer bag works fine for storing chopped parsley; just be sure to pile it in loosely and avoid compressing or packing it while it freezes so that you can easily retrieve the amount you need later on.