Do you have to remove the stems from cilantro?

Suadero Tacos with Serrano-Cilantro Salsaenlarge

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Buffy Hargett

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If you have a cooking question, our expert, Marge Perry, can answer it. Marge teaches home cooks in her classes at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She is an award-winning food writer, longtime contributor for Cooking Light and a number of other leading food magazines, author of the blog A Sweet and Savory Life, columnist for Newsday, and has contributed to over 20 cookbooks.

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"When using fresh cilantro, do I need to remove every bit of the stems?"

I get this question a lot and the answer is no. Remove stems from herbs if they have a woody or otherwise unpleasant texture and/or if they taste different from the leaves. Most of the time, that means you can leave a little of the stem near the leaves on with no adverse affect. The farther away from the leaves you get, the more likely it is that the stem will be fibrous. If you are ever unsure, simply taste the stem and decide yourself.

For more ways to use cilantro, see our collection of Cilantro Recipes and see my previous post,  What's the Best Way to Chop Fresh Herbs? 

Recipe:  Suadero Tacos with Serrano-Cilantro Salsa 

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