Cilantro, also known as coriander, Mexican parsley or Chinese parsley, is a member of the parsley family, native to the southern Mediterranean. While its taste is a matter of controversy, cilantro’s bright flavor with sage, parsley and citrus notes is indispensable to several beloved global cuisines.

Cilantro cradled in two hands.

SEASONAL in Southern California

History

Cilantro is believed to be one of the first herbs used by humankind, with records of its use as far back as 5000 B.C. Mentioned in early Sanskrit writings, cilantro is a mainstay of Indian and Central Asian cooking; large amounts of the leaves are used to add depth of flavor to cooked dishes, while the seeds are ground for use in the spice blend garam masala. The Romans spread cilantro throughout Europe, and it was one of the first herbs to arrive in the Americas.

Nutrition

Cilantro is rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Cilantro also boasts antibacterial properties and has been used for both insomnia and anxiety relief in traditional medicine.

Storage

Cut off the ends of cilantro stems, place in a glass of water, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Cooking

Delicate cilantro leaves are typically used raw or added to cooked dishes right before serving. Torn fresh cilantro is a bright topping for tacos, enchiladas, and other Mexican dishes, as well as Indian and Thai curries, Moroccan tagine, and a variety of Middle Eastern dishes. It is a welcome addition to condiments such as chutney, salsa, and pesto. Cilantro pairs well with vegetables and fruits such as tomato, avocado, cucumbers, cauliflower, and spinach.

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