By Vanessa Richins
If you’re a fan of salsa, you’re probably very familiar with cilantro.
If you also like to cook, you’re probably familiar with coriander.
Did you know, however, that these come from the same plant?
When you’re using the leaves of Coriandrum sativum, it’s called cilantro. If you let it flower and produce seeds, those are called coriander.
Cilantro prefers cooler weather. If you’re wanting to use the plant for cilantro, then plant outside in early spring or keep inside in the kitchen. When it’s warm, the plant will become bitter and go into seed production, so you could plant for coriander then.
Start the plants where you want them (full sun, well-draining), as the long taproot makes it difficult to transplant. Poke a hole that is 1/2″ deep and place the seed inside. Keep it moist for the next 7-10 days while germination is occurring.
Once they have appeared, you will want to thin the plants. Make sure the remaining plants are about 4″ apart.
Many people like to plant seeds every 3 weeks or so to have cilantro available throughout the season. Make sure to keep them well watered.
You can harvest some cilantro any time you want to use it. Don’t use more than about 1/3 of the plant at a time – it needs leaves so that it can continue to photosynthesize.
Planet Natural says : “As with most culinary herbs, cilantro is best picked early in the morning just as the dew evaporates. Do not wash the leaves or aromatic oils will be lost. Leaves store poorly unless preserved in something like salsa, but even then its flavor can fade.”
If you are collecting coriander, place the entire plant upside-down after blooming in a place that is dry and dark for a few weeks. Once the seeds have turned brown, use a paper bag around the flowers to collect the seeds as you shake the bag. Sort out the seed from any leftover bits of the flower.
Have your grown your own cilantro/coriander?