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With bright green, fern-textured stems, cilantro holds its own in beds or pots, forming a clump of sturdy, flavorful stems. Every part of cilantro promises a taste treat: spicy leaves, pungent seeds (known as coriander), and tangy roots. Most gardeners grow cilantro for the foliage, which boasts a citrusy bite that enlivens Mexican and Thai cooking. You might see this herb called Chinese parsley.
Once flowers form, leaf flavor disappears. Pinch plants frequently to keep flowers at bay. Cilantro tends to bloom as summer heat settles in; growing plants in partial shade and adding mulch can stave off flower shoots -- but not indefinitely. To ensure a season-long supply of leaves, sow seeds every 2-4 weeks. If plants set seed, dry seeds for use as coriander, and save a few for sowing. Allow flowers to drop seeds in the garden and you may be rewarded with a second crop.
how to grow Cilantro, coriander
Pick leaves as needed, starting on the outside of the plant. Lower leaves offer the most pungent flavor. When flowers appear, flavor is past its peak. To store foliage, place stems in a glass of water in the refrigerator. Cooking diminishes flavor; add leaves to cooked dishes just before serving. Flowers are edible, but if allowed to set seed, produce coriander. Harvest seed heads when color changes from green to brown. Hang seed stems upside down in paper bags to dry; bags will catch seeds. Store seeds in airtight containers. Crush coriander with a mortar to release full flavor.
more varieties for cilantro coriander
Coriandrum sativum 'Delfino' has fine, ferny foliage on a high-yielding branched plant. It was an All-America Selections Winner in 2006 because it tolerates warm weather and is slow to bolt. The flowers, as well as the foliage, can be used for flavoring. Allow some flowers to set seed and mature into coriander.
garden plans for Cilantro, coriander