If you call it pops, coriander or Chinese parsley, cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) elicits a strong reaction. People love it. A sizable minority can not stand that, frequently calling the flavor “soapy,” which scientists now believe is a hereditary response. Either way, it is an essential herb for many favourite dishes, especially those from Asian and Latin American nations.
Cilantro itself is nothing if not versatile. All its parts are edible, from roots to flowers, and the coriander seeds can easily be dried to use as a spice. As a bonus, it attracts beneficial insects, such as the syrphid fly to the backyard. Additionally, it quickly loses its flavor once harvested, so with this easy-to-grow herb readily available lets you make the most of its distinctive flavor.
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Light requirement: Full sun
Water necessity: Keep seedlings moist and supply regular water.
Prime growing season: Fall through spring
When to plant: Sow seeds in fall or very early spring; seedlings may not transplant well.
Unlike lots of herbs, cilantro doesn’t like hot weather, so it is ideal to plant it in the autumn, even in cold-winter climates, where it will emerge from the spring. In warmer climates, even those who have light frosts, you are able to plant in autumn and expect a crop into winter. If you are planting in spring, then do this once the ground thaws and plant successively to your most significant crop. Expect the crops to bolt (blossom) as it becomes hot.
To get a cut-and-come-again crop, cut seedlings to the floor when they hit 3 inches tall and replant every two weeks.
More crops to grow in the cool season
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Planting notes: Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep in abundant, well-drained soil in full sun, or light color in the hottest climates. Keep the soil moist until the seedlings are created and then provide water.
Thin the seedlings to about 4 inches apart. If you are planting in spring, then thin the seedlings into 1 inch apart and follow the harvesting instructions below for a cut-and-come-again crop.
Feed with an organic fertilizer only if the crops start to lose their colour. Pests and diseases seldom bother cilantro, however if aphids are a problem, use a spray of water or a 10 percent dish soap solution to eliminate them.
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Harvest: Pick leaves and flowers before you intend to utilize them as they quickly lose flavor. After the flowers form, the overall flavor of the leaves will start to fade. The leaves don’t dry well, but you can freeze them to preserve them.
To utilize the roots, dig up the entire plant.
Figurines which aren’t eliminated will produce seeds, which could then be dried. When the seeds begin to turn brown on the flowers, harvest the entire plant, place the flower head in a bag, close the bag around the stem and hang on the plant upside down. Shaking the plant gently will help discharge the seeds, which will drop in the bag. Keep the seeds intact and store them in an airtight container in a dry area away from light and heat. Use them grind just before using.
The best way to use it : Use raw leaves and flowers like flavorings and garnishes in salads, stir-fries, side and main dishes, chutneys, burritos and tacos, quesadillas, salsas and guacamole.
Harvest the seeds for dishes calling for coriander seeds, such as rice recipes and cookies. Toast them gently before using for the very best flavor.
Coriander roots are frequently used in Thai dishes. Dig the entire plant up and chop or pound the roots (the stalks may also be used for these recipes in case the roots aren’t large enough).
More: See how to develop more culinary customs