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BONNIE’S GARDEN—Cilantro

Coriandrum sativum aka coriander aka cilantro, aka Chinese parsley is an annual herb in the apiaceae or celery, parsley, carrot family.  It is found growing wild over large areas of Southern Europe and the Near East.  It's estimated it was being cultivated as early as 5000 B.C.  It was mentioned in ancient Sanskit writings and in the Old Testament book of Exodus.  Dried coriander was even found in King Tut’s tomb.  It made its way to American in the 1670’s.

Coriander is grown for both the seeds and the leaves.  They are very different flavors.  The seeds are nutty and citrusy in flavor while the foliage has a distinctively strong flavor.  It is used extensively in Indian and Oriental cuisine as well as Mexican food.

Cilantro seems to be one of these herbs that you either love or hate.  Scientists have found that cilantro carries a chemical compound that some people are particularly sensitive to and, therefore, find the herb unpleasantly soapy or bitter tasting.  They have found that the taste for (or against) cilantro apparently runs in families.

Cilantro is rather short-lived and will go to seed fairly quickly in warm weather.  Cutting the emerging seed heads off as soon as they appear will hold the plant for a week or two longer.  It’s best grown in the spring and fall, when it will hold longest.  In mild climates, it will reseed readily.  Cilantro prefers a sunny location and moist, but not wet soil.  It can be started readily from seed.  Simply soak overnight and direct sow where you want them.  They will sprout in about a week or ten days. 

If growing for the seeds, then allow to go to seed and harvest seeds when they are mature, but before they fall to the ground.
Posted: 5/11/2015 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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