Cilantro is a'dual-use' plant, as both the leaves (usually called cilantro) and seeds (usually called coriander ) are used in cooking. It is used across many cultures, but is most commonly found in Asian (from Chinese to Indian) and Latin American foods.
Some people detest the taste of cilantro - it can be quite pungent and is a unique flavor.
Planting Time: APR-SEPT (in central Maryland)
Harvest Time: MAY-NOV (in central Maryland)
Cilantro is not a difficult plant to grow but there are quirks to growing it that are worthy of note:
- Seeding: Cilantro seeds (coriander) can be dropped straight into the garden with a bit of soil swept on top - this is readily apparent in my garden where cilantro tends to re-seed itself after the plants drop coriander seeds. However, some gardeners seem to have a harder time starting seeds and report that soaking, breaking, or scratching the seeds aids in germination rates (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarification_(botany).
- Bolting: Cilantro tends to bolt very quickly, especially in the warmer months. Picking often may help, and some varieties (e.g. 'Calypso') claim to be slow bolters. Cilantro leaves should not be picked once stalks start to form in earnest - the leaves are not as flavorful and eventually get bitter. Seeds from plant that bolt quickly should be used for cooking, and seeds from slower bolters should be saved for replanting to encourage the selection of genes for slow bolting cilantro in next years crop.
Fertilizer is generally unecessary for cilantro
You can preserve cilantro in ice cube trays with water or oil. It will lose some color, but the flavor should be good.
Matt's Garden Notes:
Matt's 2013 Map
2013: I noticed that I shouldn't grow cilantro as early as I do - it works, but it always bolts by the time I actually need it -- when the tomatoes, peppers, and onions are ready. So in 2014, I should really stagger planting better. The seeds weren't ready from the early crop until late July.
Recipes using Cilantro/Coriander:
Matt's Salsa Fresca
Alton Brown's Guacamole
Cold Cucumber Dill Soup
Roasted Pork BBQ
Tomatillo Salsa II
Burned Red Tomato Salsa
Burned Tomatillo Salsa
Bobby Flay's Jalapeno Hot Sauce
White Bean Chili
Pork Meatball sandwiches
Cheesy Poblano Chicken
Fajita steak marinade