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Cilantro is a classic Mexican herb and an important addition to herb gardening for every chef. The foliage is called 'Cilantro' while the seed is called 'Coriander'. A popular culinary herb in Asian and Mexican cuisine, Cilantro is a very versatile herb to grow but bolts quickly in the heat. Planting in partial shade or by succession planting is the best way to make sure you have lots of Cilantro to last you all summer long.
A useful medicinal herb, Cilantro can be very beneficial to your health! The leaves of the Cilantro plant contain antibacterial and anti fungal properties and they are a rich source of iron, magnesium and natural antioxidants. Research suggests that cilantro can also help lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, while increasing good cholesterol levels and helping to maintain a healthy level of dietary fiber. Cilantro's seeds (Coriander) are also medicinally valuable for their aid with digestion.
For the best flavor, cilantro leaves are best picked when they are young and somewhat small, as they get more bitter-tasting with growth. From its roots to its shoots, every part of the Cilantro plant is edible, though offer varied flavors. While the leaves and stems of the Cilantro plant have a bold, spicy flavor that compliment salsas and other savory dishes, the seeds (Coriander) are sweet and mild and are a favorite ingredient in Indian cuisine as well as in smoked meats and sweet breads.
Characteristics: Cilantro is an annual culinary herb, in the same family as and closely resembling parsley. Native to southern Europe, Cilantro is a zesty herb and is commonly known as Coriander, Cilantro, or Chinese Parsley. It has light green, feathery, flat leaves and a distinct flavor quite different from that of parsley.
Light: Cilantro will thrive in full sun. Pick the sunniest spot in your backyard, balcony, or windowsill. To slow bolting, you should succession plant!
Water: Cilantro likes moist soil, but avoid constant 'wet feet.'
Soil: Pick a well-draining soil with lots of organic matter-- an average pH of 6.6 will be perfect.
Use: Cilantro is very popular in Mexican and Asian dishes. New to cooking with this delightful little herb? Try chopping up a handful to add to your next bowl of salsa.
Cilantro will eventually bolt and turn to seed. These seeds, called coriander seed, are used as a spice and have an entirely different taste.
Extras: Cilantro's name is said to be derived from koris, Greek for "bedbug" since the plant smelled strongly of the insect.
10 Health Benefits of Cilantro and Coriander
Relieves bloating and intestinal gas
Lowers blood sugar levels
Great source of dietary fiber
Protects against the Salmonella bacteria because it contains a natural antibacterial component called dodecanal which proves to be more successful in fighting Salmonella than manufactured drugs created to treat the bacteria.
Raises good cholesterol levels (HDL's) while lowering bad cholesterol levels (LDL's)
Helps prevent urinary tract infections
A great source of phytonutrients and flavonoids which are natural antioxidants and assist in cell regeneration.