Cilantro - (Coriandrum sativum) or the seeds of the herb known as Coriander is one of the more potent herbs. The name comes from the Greek word Koris, which means bed bug, referring to the odd odor of the foliage. Cilantro also attracts bees and is a welcome addition to any garden.
Known for 3,000 years as a medicinal herb, coriander quiets stomach-aches and relieves nausea. Coriander is used to settle the stomach, its warm, fragrant taste seems preferable to some of the more pungent, powerful herbs. In fact, coriander is often used commercially as an ingredient to make medications more palatable. Coriander is also used as a flavoring in gin, pickles and sausages, as well as a component of makeup and perfumes.
Annual - Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is an easy to grow annual, doing best in full sun, but will also do well in partial shade.
Cilantro grows quickly in your herb garden and reseeds itself easily. The herb produces delicate white to lavender flowers. Keep the plant pinched back to restrain it from going to seed too quickly. If your cilantro accidentally does go to seed, the next year expect an herb garden full of eager growing cilantro!
Cilantro leaves do not dry well and should always be used fresh. To store fresh cilantro from your herb garden or cilantro purchased at a store, cut off the stem ends of 3/4 inch bunches and store in a refrigerated glass of water or pan for up to a few days. Rinse the leaves just before use.
Cilantro seeds, known as coriander, are also a popular part of the plant and are used as a spice world wide. To harvest the coriander, wait until the seeds of the cilantro herb plant have turned from green to brown. Trim the cilantro plants a few inches from the ground and hang upside down in a paper bag. When the coriander seeds readily shake loose into the bag, the seeds are ready to store. Place the coriander seeds in a herb storage container or airtight glass jar. To release the best flavor of coriander, crush the seeds in a mortar just they are used.
Coriander and Cilantro are more commonly used than one might think. Cilantro is used extensively in Mexican cooking. The seeds, known as coriander, are an ingredient in Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian cooking. Coriander is an ingredient in curry and is used to flavor bread, cookies and cakes.
Serve this fresh cilantro salsa as a dip for tortilla chips or as a topping for your favorite burrito or taco!
Add the jalapeño pulp or seeds in small amounts until the right amount of heat is reached. The heat will increase slightly, overnight. This would not taste like a true salsa without the distinctive flavor of Cilantro.