Coriander

CorianderA musty perfume and clove like pungent flavour makes the soft pretty leaves of Coriander, also call “cilantro” and “Chinese parsley”, very popular.  The leaves taste like a combination of sage and citrus.  The seeds have a sweeter citrus flavour without the sharpness of sage.  The roots are similar to the leaves but also have a nutty flavour.  Coriander is widely used with leaves in salads and sauces, and seeds added to soups or pies and even cakes.

Growing: Coriander is a perennial and prefers full sun, partial sun, shade.  It best sown in cooler weather as it tends to go to seed in high heat.  Pick leaves at any time for flavouring.  Coriander needs protect from snails.  Harvest the leaves with sharp scissors.  If seeds are wanted, let a few of the stems go to seed and when the seeds begin to brown, cut the stem and place upside down in paper bag.  The seeds can be dried and kept whole.

Storage: Wrap the coriander in a paper towel and keep it in the refrigerator or cut the stems at an angle and place them in a jar of water and sit it in the refrigerator.  Every couple of days re-trim the stems, and change the water.  If the coriander still has roots attached, put them in a jar of water away from sunlight and it should last for at least two weeks.  To freeze put a single layer of leaves onto a tray,  once frozen store in small freezer bags or fill each compartment of an ice cube tray with leaves, fill with water, freeze, then move the cubes to freezer bags for permanent storage.

General Use: As coriander is mild, it is a spice to be used by the handful, rather than the pinch.  The leaves can be chopped or minced before use.  Coriander seed is generally used coarsely ground or more finely powdered, depending on the texture desired.

Coriander goes well with chicken, fish, lamb and rice, pasta or vegetable dishes.  Also good in salsa, taco fillings, black bean and corn salad, lentil or black bean soups.  It's great butters for vegetables or fish.

Coriander if the distinctive flavour found in Caribbean, Indian, Thai, Chines, Mexican or Latin American dishes and goes well with most "hot" cuisines.

To release more of the flavour from the coriander seed, roast the seeds in a dry, hot pan for a few minutes until you can smell the scent strongly.  These seeds are ground in a mortar and pestle or herb grinder before use.