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Getting to know the herb cilantro, also known as coriander.Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also commonly called cilantro, is an annual herb in the There are many garden herbs that can be easily grown, coriander is one of them!family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to southwestern Asia west to north Africa. It is a soft, hairless plant growing to 50 cm [20 in.] tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers are borne in small umbels, white or very pale pink, asymmetrical, with the petals pointing away from the centre of the umbel longer (5-6 mm) than those pointing to the middle of the umbel (only 1-3 mm long). The fruit is a globular dry schizocarp 3-5 mm diameter.

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The name coriander derives from French coriandre through Latin “coriandrum” in turn from Greek “κορίαννον”. John Chadwick notes the Mycenaean Greek form of the word, koriadnon "has a pattern curiously similar to the name of Minos' daughter Ariadne, and it is plain how this might be corrupted later to koriannon or koriandron."

Coriander grows wild over a wide area of the Near East and southern Europe, prompting the comment, "It is hard to dFree gift with every purchase!efine exactly where this plant is wild and where it only recently established itself." Fifteen desiccated mericarps were found in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B level of the Nahal Hemel Cave in Israel, which may be the oldest archeological find of coriander. About half a quart (liter) of coriander mericarps were recovered from the tomb of Tutankhamun, and because this plant does not grow wild in Egypt, Zohary and Hopf interpret this find as proof that coriander was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians. The Bible mentions coriander in Exodus 16:31: "And the house of Israel began to call its name Manna: and it was round like coriander seed, and its taste was like that of flat cakes made with honey."

Coriander seems to have been cultivated in Greece since at least the second millennium BC. One of the Linear B tablets recovered from Pylos refers to the species as being cultivated for the manufacture of perfumes, and it appears that it was used in two forms: as a spice for its seeds and as a herb for the flavor of its leaves. This appears to be confirmed by archaeological evidence from the same period: the large quantities of the species retrieved from an Early Bronze Age layer at Sitagroi in Macedonia could point to cultivation of the species at that time.
Coriander powder, coriander seeds and even coriander leaf.
Coriander was brought to the British colonies in North America in 1670 and was one of the first spices cultivated by early settlers.

The cilantro leaves are sometimes referred to as coriander leaves, cilantro (in the Americas, from the Spanish vernacular for the plant), culantro (in some regions of Latin America; this is also a common name for Eryngium foetidum, which causes some minor confusion).

The leaves have a different taste from the seeds, with citrus overtones. Some perceive an unpleasant "soapy" taste or a rank smell and avoid the leaves. Belief that this is genetically determined may arise from the known genetic variation in taste perception of the synthetic chemical phenylthiocarbamide; however, no specific link has been established between coriander and a bitter taste perception gene.

The fresh leaves are an ingredient in many South Asian foods (particularly chutneys), in Chinese dishes and in Mexican salsas and guacamole. Chopped coriander leaves are a garnish on cooked dishes such as dal and curries. As heat diminishes their flavor quickly, coriander leaves are often used raw or added to the dish immediately before serving. In Indian and Central Asian recipes, coriander leaves are used in large amounts and cooked until the flavor diminishes. The leaves spoil quickly when removed from the plant, and lose their aroma when dried or frozen.

Coriander leaves were formerly common in European cuisine. Today western Europeans usually eat coriander leaves only in dishes that originated in foreign cuisines, except in Portugal, where they are still an ingredient in traditional dishes.


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