Cilantro (coriander) is one of the world’s most popular herbs. Its origins are in the Mediterranean but its seeds are popular in Middle Eastern foods (where it is known as coriander). The leaves are also an important flavor in Asian and Latin foods (where it is known as cilantro). The Greeks compared its aroma to a bed bug and so stems its name from the Greek word for bug, “koris.” Cilantro is also referred to as ‘Chinese parsley.’
Cilantro was first noted over 5000 years ago as it was mentioned in the tombs of ancient Egypt, as well as in the Old Testament of the bible, and as an aphrodisiac in The Thousand and One Nights. Cilantro was used medicinally for a number of ailments in ancient times.
Cilantro has an earthy flavor and is often mistaken for Italian parsley because of their similar appearances. Cilantro grows to be 1.5 to 3 feet tall and up to 8 inches wide. This annual produces flat clusters of small white or pale purple flowers and round, beige fruits.
Cilantro is hardy in winter. It will reseed itself with determination so keep an eye out to harvest before this happens. It is a lover of southern climes which is one of the reasons it is such an intricate part of Latin American cuisine. Its love of sun and lack of soil and water requirements will make it a winner in your garden. Be sure to plant this favorite near the kitchen for easy access while cooking!