When you grow cilantro, you grow two herbs in one! The leaves impart a musky, citrus-like flavor to Chinese, Mexican and Thai cooking. The seeds, called coriander, taste of sage and lemon or orange peel, and season many traditional Indian dishes. Many people are realizing the detoxing properties found in the herb.
Health Benefits of Cilantro
Cilantro can help cleanse the body of toxic metals, it’s an incredible source of antioxidants, it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, and it has a long history of culinary and therapeutic use. Cilantro helps cleanse the body of toxic metals by supporting the body’s natural detoxification processes. Compounds in cilantro leaf bind to toxic metals and loosen them from affected tissue. This process allows metals to be released from the body naturally. You can access these benefits by consuming the raw leaves or ingesting concentrated extracts. Unfortunately, fresh cilantro goes bad very quickly. If you want to be sure to always have access to its detoxification power, you should grow your own.
How to Grow Cilantro and Harvest Coriander Seeds
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is really two herbs in one. The leaves, called cilantro or Chinese parsley, impart a musky, citrus-like (some even say “soapy”) flavor to Mexican, Chinese and Thai cooking. The tiny, round seeds, called coriander, taste of sage and lemon or orange peel, and season many traditional Indian dishes, especially curries.
Coriander roots also have culinary use. In Southeast Asia, they are dug, chopped and added to salty pickled condiments by many kitchen gardeners.
This is an annual which will need to be replanted each year or grown on a kitchen window sill This easy-to-grow herb is rich in vitamins A and C, and also contains iron and calcium. In the garden, coriander flowers attract beneficial insects. At the flowering and fruit-set stage, the plants give off a slightly acrid smell, which is probably why this herb’s botanical name is derived from the Greek word for “bedbug,” which emits a similar color. In mature seeds, this odor vanishes.
Tips for Growing Cilantro
Cilantro is easy to grow, and it’s convenient to have fresh cilantro ready to use. Cilantro grows quickly and does not always transfer well, so plan on growing your cilantro from seed. Cilantro leaves stop growing and become bitter after the plant flowers. That is why it’s best to plant your cilantro in spring and fall, avoiding the longer, hotter summer days in-between.
Plant cilantro seeds in well-drained, well-fertilized soil. Choose a spot that gets full sun. Sow several seeds together one-quarter inch into the soil and six to eight inches apart. Water after planting and when the soil is dry to the touch.
Expect to wait three to four weeks before harvesting the cilantro leaves. Leaves can be harvested anytime during the growing process, but you should wait until the plant is at least six inches in height. If you want to harvest the leaves continually, sow new seeds every two to three weeks. Unlike other herbs, cilantro leaves lose most of their flavor when dried, so it’s better to use them fresh. If you need to preserve them, freezing is the best option. The seeds of the cilantro plant—coriander—require a different approach. The seeds can be used for planting or can be dried and used in a culinary capacity. Wait to harvest the seeds until most have turned brown on the plant. Cut off the stalk a few inches below the seeds. Tie the stalks in bunches and hang them upside down in a brown paper bag. After about five days, the dried seeds should fall from the stalks into the bottom of the bag. You can store the seeds in an airtight, glass container for up to a year. To release the flavors, dry-roast or grind before use.
How to Use Cilantro
Some people find the unique smell and taste of fresh cilantro unpleasant, but those of this opinion are definitely in the minority, because the herb’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. Cilantro enthusiasts eagerly eat the leaves raw, chopped into salsas or salads, and layered onto sandwiches.
Cooking With Cilantro Black-Eyed Pea Salsa Recipe Spicy Mango Salsa Recipe Albóndigas (Spanish Meatballs) Recipe Heirloom Tomato Salsa Recipe Pollo Encilantrado (Shredded Chicken in Cilantro Sauce) Recipe Sopa de Cilantro (Cilantro Soup) Recipe Cilantro-Lime Butter Recipe
Does your family enjoy the flavor of cilantro? Share your favorite recipe.