Coriander

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Coriander is the perfect example of what it means to be timeless. It has managed to stay relevant and appreciated since ancient times, and it is still a well-loved plant all around the world today! 

There are records of coriander being cultivated and used in ancient civilizations. The discovery of coriander in the tomb of Tutankhamen suggests that ancient Egyptians were growing this plant. Coriander spiced Greek food, and they use it to make perfumes too. In ancient Rome, coriander flavored Roman bread. Fast-forward to modern times: coriander today remains a staple in cooking, prominent in Spanish, Mexican, Southeast Asian, Caribbean, and Indian cuisines, among others.

In the US, coriander is known as cilantro, possibly because coriander became known in the US when Mexican cuisine became popular here. And since Mexican recipes indicate ingredients in Spanish, the word used is cilantro and not coriander.

Kingdom: Plantae   
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Coriandrum
Species: C. sativum
Binomial Name: Coriandrum sativum

Coriander Trivia

  • Coriander is one of the oldest herbs used today.
  • In the 17th century, Frenchmen produced a type of liquor made from distilling coriander.
  • In the book A Thousand and One Tales of the Arabian Nights, coriander added to a drink makes for an aphrodisiac.
  • Coriander is used in Iranian folk medicine to cure insomnia.

Coriander Buying Guide

You can buy freshly-cut coriander in the market or the produce section of grocery stores. Do not worry if you are unsure about how to spot coriander because it is labeled or has a name tag so that you don’t confuse it with other herbs. Buy just enough for use because coriander that has been in the refrigerator for a week or longer is not ideal for cooking or eating. Coriander tastes best when it is fresh.

Coriander Production & Farming in Texas

In Texas, coriander growers looking to harvest in April start planting by February, while coriander seed planted in September will be ready for harvest in November, as long as conditions are suitable for the healthy growth of the plant. For coriander to achieve optimal growth, fertilizing is necessary, using ½ teaspoon of ammonium nitrate (34-0-0) or urea (21-0-0) per square foot applied twice.

Harvest coriander by hand. However, commercial growers rely on machine harvesting for faster processing. Coriander can be harvested 45 to 70 days after seeding. Cut the leaf measuring 4 to 6 inches long. Cut the whole plant 2 inches above soil level if you want to use both the small and large coriander leaves.

Unfortunately, this is not enough. According to Colorado State University (CSU) Food Source Information, the US does not produce enough coriander to meet local demand, which is why the US is importing coriander.

Pesticides:

Coriander needs the naturally-occurring pesticide neem oil to prevent bacterial leaf spots. Neem oil comes from the seeds of the neem tree, with a yellowish or brownish color and smells like garlic or sulfur.

Neem oil, along with spinosad, which is a natural substance made by a soil bacterium, is used against cabbage looper. For beet armyworm, the best pesticide is pyrethrins, which is a natural organic compound derived from a plant, preferred by organic farmers. Pyrethrin and neem oil combined is lethal against the green peach aphid.

There are organic remedies for weed problems. For pre-plant, use corn gluten meal, while for post-emergence, use 20% vinegar with cinnamon and clove oil d-limonene.

Geography:

Coriander is native to the Eastern Mediterranean region, which explains why this plant thrives in temperate climates. In finding the place where to cultivate coriander, always consider the fact that the best location for coriander is tropical or subtropical countries since this herb thrives best when it gets just enough sun. Keep in mind as well that coriander grows well on loamy soil and blooms in the spring. Coriander seeds do well when set on soft, well-tilled, and composted soil.

Packaging:

After harvest, coriander is packed in 10-pound boxes with 30 bunches per box before hydro-cooling, which is the process of arresting the ripening of fruits and vegetables after harvesting by immersion in ice or cold water. These boxes are kept in a room with 33-35°F temperature during shipment. 

Markets and groceries sell coriander in bunches. Other stores put coriander inside clamshell plastic containers to keep the leaves from bruising.

Eating Coriander

We eat coriander as a garnish, added to cooked food before it is served, like the Indian red lentil dal curry. It is used for rubs when grilling or baking fish or chicken. Coriander is also the main ingredient in dishes like green chili and coriander chicken soup and the seafood dish pipis and coriander butter. 

Coriander has a tart, lemony taste. However, some dislike the taste of cilantro because it tastes like soap. The molecule found in coriander is called aldehyde, which is an ingredient to make soap.

Storage:

Store freshly-cut coriander inside the refrigerator, but not for more than seven days. Dried and powdered coriander has a longer shelf-life and should be stored in a spice jar and kept in the spice cabinet with its lid closed when not in use to preserve its flavor and aroma.   

Cooking:

Eat coriander fresh or cooked. Coriander is a central ingredient when cooking chutney, salsas, guacamole, dal, and curry, among others. When cooking coriander, it is good to remember that heat diminishes the flavor of the coriander. Do not cook coriander for too long. 

Nutrition:

Coriander is a low-calorie food. It is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol. But it is a good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), vitamin K, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, thiamine, carotene, and zinc.

Nutritional Benefits:

Use coriander to treat indigestion, nausea, and dysentery. Use it to stimulate the appetite. Coriander also helps in lowering blood sugar, boosting the immune system, promoting health and brain health, and fighting infections. Coriander is also useful for menstrual disorders and smallpox.

When Are Coriander in Season in Texas?

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  • May
  • June
  • September
  • Oktober
  • November

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Coriander in Texas Directly from the Producer

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