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How to Grow Cilantro

Anne K Moore
Photographs Anne K Moore

Cilantro, for me, has been an acquired taste. Mexican style dishes containing cilantro were not tops on my list. Then, something changed. I tried a dish with fresh cilantro and found I loved it. What was the difference? I think in my case, it was the freshness of the cilantro. It has a unique flavor that I now find very pleasing. I even have a new appreciation for the dried leaves.

This plant, Coriandrum sativum, is two-faced. Its leaves, which resemble flat-leaved parsley, are known as cilantro. Its seeds are coriander. You can grow the plant by sowing in the early spring into cool soil. Plant it about three quarters of an inch deep in good garden soil in a sunny spot and keep it watered if spring rains are sparse. Harvest young leaves to use fresh in all kinds of dishes. When the little white flowers have matured into dark seed capsules, shake out the seeds into a mesh colander or paper bag and dry them in a cool, dry area before you package them into paper envelopes.

If you haven’t tried fresh cilantro, you will be surprised at just how good it is. If you are a member of the cilantrophobia crowd (cilantro-haters), and there seems to be quite a number, you probably won’t magically fall for cilantro seasoned dishes. If, like me, you haven’t established a like or dislike for the herb, give it a try. You might be surprised. You might like it.

Posted November 29, 2012

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