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Cilantro, also known as coriander in some parts of the world, is a fresh herb with a distinctive, tangy flavor. It’s a staple in global cuisines, from Mexican salsa to Indian chutneys. Cilantro is a versatile herb that plays a dual role in the culinary world. Both its seeds and leaves are used in cooking, but they offer distinctly different flavors and uses.

The Soapy Taste Mystery

Ever wondered why cilantro can taste like soap to some people? It’s all in the genes. A specific genetic variation makes certain individuals more sensitive to aldehyde chemicals, which are present in cilantro and also in soap, leading them to experience a soapy taste.

Culinary Uses of Cilantro

Cilantro is incredibly versatile. Its leaves can add a fresh kick to salads, while its seeds (coriander seeds) are used ground or whole as a spice. Whether it’s the centerpiece of a dish or a garnish, cilantro adds a burst of flavor that’s hard to replicate.

Health Benefits

Beyond its culinary uses, cilantro is packed with antioxidants and vitamins. It’s known for its digestive, anti-inflammatory, and blood-sugar-lowering benefits, making it a powerhouse in nutritional value.

Understanding cilantro’s unique taste profile and its benefits can enhance your cooking and appreciation for this polarizing herb. Whether you’re a cilantro lover or skeptic, it’s a fascinating plant with a lot to offer in both the kitchen and your health.

Growing Cilantro

Cilantro is a great choice to grow both indoors and out. It’s fast growing, and you can enjoy fresh green flavor all winter long with very little effort. If I am growing for the cilantro leaves, I overseed(use more seeds than you would in an outdoor garden. A flat, wide dish works well. You aren’t trying to get a deep root system. You will be harvesting the fresh leaves throughout the winter. Keep the soil damp and cut the cilantro leaves with scissors for any dish. It will keep regrowing for weeks.
Cilantro outside is also simple, but the plant doesn’t like hot weather, so grow it in the cool spring and early summer for best results.

I allow my Cilantro to go to seed for the Coriander! I recommend bagging the flowers so you can catch the seeds. They are really large, but fall off when you least expect it and then you have Cilantro growing everywhere. It’s like growing two different herbs in one plant.

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