Coriander is a member of carrot and parsley family. It can be used as both a spice, and an herb. When used as an herb, it is often referred to as "cilantro."
It's an annual plant that, left on its own, can grow 1 to 3 feet tall (300 cm to 1 metre.)
The bright green, fragrant leaves look like flat-leaf parsley. Both the leaves, stems, roots and seeds are used in cooking. The seeds are used as a spice, the leaves as an herb. The roots are also used in some Asian cooking.
The seeds don't have the same taste as the leaves. The seeds start out green and turn brown. They have to be harvested as soon as they are ripe because they start falling to the ground.
In Europe, it is mostly the seeds that are traditionally used, except for Portuguese cooking which also uses the fresh leaves. The leaves are used widely in South America, the Middle East, and in South-East Asia.
Fresh coriander leaves go extremely well with spicy ethnic cuisine such as Indian, Mexican or Thai.
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves = 3g
1/2 cup whole coriander leaves, loose packed = 1/4 cup coarsely chopped loose packed= 50g
1/2 cup finely chopped including stem, packed firmly, wet = 50 g
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons), finely chopped, packed firmly = 2 oz ( 60 g)
To freeze the leaves, chop, stuff into an ice cube try, and cover with water. When frozen (a few hours), tip out into and store in a sealed freezer bag. The leaves should keep for at least 3 months in the freezer. When thawed, use for dishes that involve cooking as opposed to using for a garnish.
Not worth drying it; it will come out tasting vaguely like tea.
The roots can be frozen as well. Just wrap well in tin foil.
The Romans used it. Pliny the Elder mentioned coriander, saying the best was Egyptian. Cato recommended the chopped fresh leaves as a garnish to stimulate appetite.
The Romans spread coriander throughout Europe, including Britain. At one point in time, it was heavily grown in Essex, England (recorded at the Maplesteads on the Suffolk border.) The coriander crop would be rotated with caraway and teazels.
Cilantro seeds and leaves were used in cooking in Europe right up into the medieval period.
Though now very popular in Mexican and South American cooking, coriander wasn't present in the New World until the Spanish introduced it. British settlers were growing it in the New World by 1670 in Massachusetts.
Coriander leaves were used to flavour beer before hops came into common use; some beers, such as Belgian Wit beer, still use coriander.
Literature & Lore
Alan Davidson, in the Penguin Companion to Food (2002), speculates that the word "coriander" may come from the Greek word for bed-bug, "koris" (though many dictionaries disagree with this) and notes that some have compared coriander's aroma (the leaves and unripe seeds) to "the smell of bug-infested bedclothes."
The aroma of fresh coriander is due to variants of fat molecules called aldehydes, which are also found in soap, and in the body fluids of some insects.
Called "Poivre des pauvre gens" in Acadian French.
Davidson, Alan. The Penguin Companion to Food. London: The Penguin Group, 2002.
Weiss, E.A. Spice Crops. Wallingford, Oxfordshire: CABI Publishing Series. 2002. Page 243.
CorianderCoriander Root; Coriander Seeds; Coriander Soup Recipe; Coriander
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