Supertasters – those who have a very acute sense of taste resulting in intolerance and dislike to bitter tastes in food – avoid many things many people find enjoyable to eat: coffee, spinach, grapefruit juice, and yes, even cilantro.
That is unfortunate because cilantro is a very nutritious herb. Those who do not like cilantro may not be big fans of cilantro microgreens – the smaller, younger version of cilantro we normally use as an herb. Even if cilantro microgreens are smaller and younger, there are advantages to using them instead of mature, full-grown cilantro. For one, you do not have to cut them up because they are already small. Another thing to consider is flavor. Microgreens, in general, pack a stronger flavor compared to mature, full-grown greens. Lastly, using microgreens makes the dish or food look better, compared to using cut-up leaves of herbs.
If you haven’t tried cilantro microgreens, now is a good time to try some!
Species: C. sativum
Binomial name: Coriandrum sativum
Cilantro Microgreen Trivia
- The Medical Papyrus of Thebes, which was written in 1552 B.C., made mention of cilantro.
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, grows many plants including the herb cilantro.
- Cilantro is also known as coriander and Chinese parsley.
Cilantro Microgreen Buying Guide
Cilantro microgreens are sold in groceries, supermarkets, farmers markets, and other specialty stores. Ask around for local growers so that you can source your cilantro microgreens locally. When buying cilantro microgreens, buy just enough until the next grocery day. If this is the first time you are buying cilantro microgreens, try to buy in small quantities first so that you can taste it; should you not like it, you don’t have a lot of cilantro microgreens to dispose of and you are not being wasteful. When buying, make sure to inspect it thoroughly. See if the leaves and stems are of good quality. It is ok if one or two are wilted, but if most of the bunch are wilted and do not appear fresh, do not buy it.
If you are buying seeds so that you can grow your own microgreen, this will give you an idea of how many seeds you expect to get from a pack.
- 1-ounce pack contains approximately 8,000 seeds
- 4-ounce pack contains approximately 32,000 seeds
- 1-pound pack or bag contains approximately 128,000 seeds
- 5-pound pack or bag contains approximately 640,000 seeds
- 25-pound pack or bag contains approximately 3,200,000 seeds
Cilantro Microgreen Production & Farming in Texas
Growing cilantro microgreens is easy. Put soil on your growing tray. Moisten the soil if it feels dry but do not overwater it because if this happens, you need an extra hour just to make sure the excess water has fully drained. The next step is sprinkling the seeds on the growing medium. If you are unsure how many seeds you need, 1.25 ounces of seeds are enough to cover a 10×20 tray without the problem of overcrowding. Lightly mist the seeds using a spray bottle. Cover the tray with a lid and keep it somewhere dark with a room temperature ranging from 60°F to 70°F. Remove the lid and mist them lightly every day. Expect signs of germination in 48 to 72 hours. The next step is exposing them to sunlight. You can use grow light, artificial light, or indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight is not recommended because the microgreens will easily dry.
The cilantro microgreen is a slow-growing microgreen. Germination can take as long as six days, and you may have to wait for 20 days before your cilantro microgreens are ready for harvest. Soil is the best medium to grow cilantro microgreens although you can also grow these in coconut coir or vermiculite. Growing cilantro microgreen seeds by using a hydroponic system is discouraged since cilantro microgreens do not respond well in this method. Soaking is not necessary. Pre-soaked seeds may speed up the germination but the harvest time would remain the same. If pre-soaking is preferred, make sure soaking time does not exceed 24 hours.
- Buy cilantro microgreen seeds from a reputable seed seller or distributor.
- Water from the side of the tray to make sure the weight of the water will not squash the microgreens, or maintain water in the water tray.
- Rotate crop once it is exposed to light to avoid “bending” microgreens.
There are farmers and growers in Texas who grow cilantro microgreens like Greenfin Farms in Denton, Texas, and Grand Prairie Microgreens in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas. There are also initiatives like the Big Tex Urban Farms that help promote the business as well as the attitude of the public towards microgreens. Texas restaurants with microgreens on the menu use and mix different microgreens including cilantro microgreens.
Microgreens are a fast-growing crop. This means there is very little time for pests to be a problem. If there is a pest `problem, it will probably involve aphids and whiteflies. If the problem requires the use of pesticides, make note of the following:
- Aphids – Kill aphids using neem oil, insecticidal soap, or horticultural oil. You can also use the pesticide malathion, which is the most commonly used organophosphate insecticide in the United States, or rotenone, a selective, non-specific insecticide typically used in home gardens for insect control.
- Whiteflies – Malathion or Pyrethrins are effective against whiteflies.
Because of grow lights and temperature-controlled rooms, it is possible to grow any microgreens anywhere in the world, and that includes cilantro microgreens. North America is a major microgreens market. The US, Canada, and Mexico are among the top producing countries of microgreens. India, Mexico, Syria, and Iran are some of the major producers of cilantro.
The first time cilantro was planted in North America was in 1670 in Massachusetts, United States. Cilantro is cultivated today in the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe, Mexico, and the U.S.
Cilantro microgreens are sold in transparent plastic clamshell packaging or Styrofoam food tray covered with plastic wrap.
Enjoying Cilantro Microgreens
When you eat a cilantro microgreen, you will notice that it has a sweet, bright aroma and a citrusy, clean, bold, cilantro flavor – the same flavor you get when you eat full-grown, mature cilantro. There is no musty smell and there is sometimes a noticeably stronger cilantro flavor in microgreens compared to mature, full-grown cilantro.
Be careful not to eat too much cilantro microgreens since cilantro is a known heartburn trigger. Another reason to proceed with caution when eating cilantro microgreens is allergy. If you have a history of having an allergic reaction to cilantro, do not eat cilantro microgreens.
If you have to store cilantro microgreens, make sure to wrap these in damp paper towels before you put these inside a resealable plastic bag or food container. They will last for a week this way. Freezing is not ideal because microgreens simply do not have the structural strength mature, full-grown vegetables have to survive being frozen and thawed. Most of the time, freezing and thawing will turn microgreens into slime, and what is left is unappetizing.
If the cilantro microgreens you bought came in clamshell packaging, use it to store cilantro microgreens in the refrigerator. If, for some reason, you need to transfer the cilantro microgreens to a different container, choose a plastic container with a lid. The least ideal storage is glass because it has the most condensation when in the refrigerator and the condensation contributes to the degradation of the quality of the cilantro microgreens inside. Avoid putting them near the vent of the refrigerator because if the temperature fluctuates, it will affect the condition of the cilantro microgreens. Put it on the lower shelf where the temperature is more stable. Remember that different microgreens vary when it comes to how long they keep in the refrigerator.
Cilantro microgreens are great for a wide variety of dishes. Latin cuisine, Caribbean cuisine, Mexican cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine, North African cuisine, Indian cuisine, and Southeast Asian cuisine all have many dishes that are sure to taste better with the addition of cilantro microgreens.
Cilantro microgreens are great for fish dishes. It is also an excellent ingredient to use when making curries, chutneys, and salsas. The flavor of cilantro microgreens makes it an excellent ingredient for soups. Cilantro is great in most Mexican dishes and there is no reason why you shouldn’t try adding cilantro microgreens to your beef tacos. You can also use cilantro microgreens when making fried rice or cooking stir fry dishes.
Cilantro microgreens are packed with vitamins A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folic acid, protein, iron, magnesium, and potassium. This food is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Eating cilantro microgreens helps maintain strong bones and teeth. It helps lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.