Cilantro is a cool weather herb and is also
referred to as Chinese Parsley and Coriander, which is the seed of this
plant. Cilantro is actually the leaves (and stems) of the Coriander plant.
Cilantro has a very pungent odor and is widely used in Mexican, Caribbean
and Asian cooking. The Cilantro leaves look a bit like flat Italian parsley
and in fact are related.
Cilantro can be actually very difficult to grow, so don't get discouraged.
Growing it as cilantro you will be able to harvest as soon as 40-50 days
after planting the seeds. It doesn't transplant well, so sow the seed
where you want it to grow. Cilantro grows well in dry climates. Wet weather
and soggy soil will kill it. The plant prefers rich, well drained potting
soil, so we suggest mixing in perlite with the potting mix to improve
Cilantro also needs cool temperatures. It's a good spring/fall herb to
grow and will withstand temperatures down to 10 degrees. Plant it as soon
as the danger of frost is past and continue planting it as you gather
it, until it no longer thrives. In the heat of the summer, especially
in hot climates, cilantro won't do as well.
Cilantro needs bright, full sunlight, however you want to keep the roots
shaded--planting it close together can do this.
Harvest when the plant is 4-6 inches tall. You can either cut leaves
as needed or pull the entire plant and use the roots in soup.
When the plant "bolts" or starts to flower it becomes bitter
and is no longer is used as cilantro. It will take about 120 days until
the coriander seed matures. You can plant more cilantro every 7-10 days
to keep a steady supply.
A recent article in the June issue of Journal of Agricultural and Food
Chemistry by Isao Kubo (Univ. of Cal., Berkeley) shows that the juice
from salsa has antibacterial properties (it kills Salmonella). Salsa normally
contains tomatoes, onions, cliantro and green chilies. The scientists
isolated the compound that has antibactierial properties: dodecanal from
the fresh cilantro leaves. Science News reports “not only did it
kill the bacterial cells, but it was twice as potent as gentamicin, a
drug commonly used to treat the foodborne illness”
Cilantro Lime Salsa
|3 large tomatoes or 5-6 plum tomatoes, diced small
1 med. white onion, diced small
1 T minced garlic
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper, diced (you decide if you want to seed
or not ;)
juice of 2 limes, or one lemon and one lime
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste
Combine everything in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours
overnight before serving.