People say that when it comes to cilantro you either love it or hate it. I love it, but my husband does not, so when I’m cooking with cilantro ,I sometimes use it as a condiment or topping on the side. Sometimes I’ll substitute flat leaf parsley in a recipe that calls for cilantro so I can share with my better half.
People say that when it comes to cilantro you either love it or hate it. I love it but my husband does not, so I use it as a condiment or topping on the side. Sometimes I’ll substitute flat leaf parsley in a recipe that calls for cilantro so I can share with my better half.
Cilantro is a cool season crop. Although there are some varieties that claim they are slow to “bolt,” this herbs is best grown in the spring or early fall. If you insist on growing it during the hotter months, place it someplace where it will get shade from the hot afternoon sun. Once your cilantro starts to flower, you will notice that it no longer looks the same–and it won’t taste good either. However, if you want to, you can let it go to seed and harvest the seeds which are called “coriander,” which you can grind up and use in many Asian and Latin dishes. I love it in my chili.
Harvest your cilantro by cutting ¾ of the stems leaving ¼ to encourage new growth. Cutting often may help the plant from bolting (starting to flower quickly) and going to seed.
Cilantro does not dry well. The best way to preserve it is to freeze it. Chop it up and place it into ice cube trays with a little olive oil or water. Once froze you can pop out the cubes and place them in a plastic bag and back into the freezer. This way you can easily grab one or two when you need them.
Cooking with Cilantro
Cilantro is very floral, which is a quality I love, but some say it tastes like soap. I guess I can see that, but when cooking with cilantro you also get that unique floral scent which adds a depth of flavor I appreciate. This is another great add-in to top your chili, tacos, eggs, soups and even salads. Cilantro pairs well with lime juice and makes a great vinaigrette. Just use a blender or food processor to blend the cilantro with lime juice and some olive oil. Use the leftovers from your tacos or fajita dinner to make quesadillas for lunch. You can always add a little fresh cilantro to spruce up the flavor.
Fresh Homemade Salsa
- 4 fresh plum tomatoes (, seeded)
- ½ sweet onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- ¼ of a cucumber peeled and seeded
- 1 fresh jalapeno pepper (, with ribs and seeds removed)
- ¼ c . fresh cilantro
- ½ t . coarse salt
- In a food processor or blender add garlic and onion. Chop for a few seconds. Add cilantro, pepper and cucumber. Chop again. Add tomatoes and salt and chop a final time.
- Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
For the cilantro haters– try substituting flat leaf parsley.
Black Bean Salad
- 2 cans of black beans (, drained)
- 2 cups corn that has been grilled for 10 mins
- 2-3 cloves of garlic minced or crushed
- ½ cup red onion (, minced)
- 1 medium red or orange bell pepper
- 1 t . salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- ½ cup Cilantro finely chopped
- ½ cup Italian ((flat leaf) parsley finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Combine all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Tastes even better the next day. Mix it up, by exchanging and or add different beans, peppers and herbs like basil.