Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a popular herb that is used in many types of cuisine due to its very distinctive flavor. It is often used in Mexican recipes such as salsas. The cilantro plant can be quite quick to bolt and go to seed, although the slow blot variety slows down this process. Both the leaves and the seeds of this plant can be used in cooking.
Planting, Growing, and Harvesting:
For best results, cilantro should not get too hot. Hot conditions will cause the plant to bolt and go to seed rapidly, so planting cilantro in a spot that is shaded during the hottest part of the day can be a good idea. You can let the plant reseed, so give cilantro plenty of room so that fallen seeds can start themselves nearby and you can enjoy more cilantro harvests.
If your climate has mild winters, it can be best to plant cilantro in the fall. You can then harvest the cilantro until the weather gets hot in the spring.
You can sow cilantro seeds directly into the soil once all danger of frost has passed. Keep the soil evenly moist. The cilantro plant can grow between 18 and 24 inches tall.
Harvest cilantro leaves by cutting stems near ground level. You can also harvest the round seeds of the plant by cutting them off and allowing them to dry for a few days.
Recipes/How to Use:
Cilantro is commonly used in Mexican recipes. Many salsa recipes call for cilantro, and it can also be added to meats, salads, soups, dressings, or used as a garnish. You can grind the cilantro seeds and use in cooking as well.
Fresh Cilantro Salsa
3 large, fresh tomatoes, chopped
Juice from one lime (preferably freshly squeezed)
1 small white onion, chopped
1 jalapeno chili, chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt, to taste.
• Combine all ingredients except the cilantro in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Add the cilantro, then pulse a few times. Remove from blender and serve with tortilla chips.