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A member of the carrot family and also known as Coriander, Chinese Parsle... more »
A member of the carrot family and also known as Coriander, Chinese Parsley, Cilantro is a hardy, short-lived, annual herb grown in spring and fall for its leaves and seeds (known as coriander) for cooking. With citrus overtones, there is a genetic interpretation of its flavor, and many are huge fans while others have a strong aversion. (less)
Sow cilantro seeds ¼ inch (6 mm) deep either indoors or directly outdoors. Allow the plants to reach a couple of inches (5 cm) tall, keeping plants slightly crowded (no more than 4 inches or 10 cm apart) as the plants will shade the soil keeping it cool, thus delaying bolting. Mulching and regular harvesting will also assure leaf, not flower production. Plant seeds consecutively every 6 weeks to have a continual harvest.
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Fresh leaves are used in salads, and the seeds can be roasted before grinding to enhance the flavor. Seeds can boiled in water as a medicine for colds, can be used to pickle vegetables and is often used as an alternative to caraway seed in rye bread. They are also used in Belgium wheat beers. Cilantro, leaves especially, contains antioxidants, like many spices, which prevent the spoilage of food. Their roots have a deeper flavor than the leaves and are used in curries. It is a traditional treatment for diabetes, since it releases and substitutes for insulin; it lowers total cholesterol and triglycerides, and increases production of bile by the liver. As a juice, it is used as a treatment for acne applied as a toner.
When soil temperatures reach 75 F (24C) it will go to seed, although regular harvesting in a cut-and-come-again style may delay this a small amount. Like many herbs, heat diminishes its flavor quickly, and leaves lose flavor quickly when removed from the plant or dried or frozen.