Cilantro, (Chinese Parsley, Coriander)

Description - An annual herb belonging to the Parsley family, cilantro has delicate fern-like foliage, flat clusters of pinkish white flowers and aromatic seeds. Leaves have unique flavor that is pleasing to many people.

Culture - Sow seed in early spring in garden or set out potted plants started earlier indoors. Needs full sun.

Availability - Mostly in fall, winter and spring. Cilantro is marketed from the Rio Grande Valley and Houston in Texas. Greens growers produce it in Houston. California can ship it year round. Sold in little bunches.

Selection - Select for freshness, crispness of leaves and petioles and freedom from browning and decay.

Storage - Take bunch apart, wash, place in plastic bag and refrigerate immediately. Very perishable.

Nutrition Information - Coriander is usually used as a spice or condiment. It is very low in calories and a source of potassium. If eaten in large quantities it can be a source of vitamin A and C. A 3 ounce portion of raw coriander provides 18 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, 25 percent of the RDA for vitamin A, and only 20 calories.

Preparation - Both the leaves and the seeds of the coriander plant may be used in cooking. The leaves should be washed and used as you would parsley. The seeds can be crushed and added to stews and pastries. Uses - Aromatic seeds crushed before using in seasoning sausage, beans, stews, cookies, wines. Young leaves used in salads, soups, poultry recipes and in a variety of Mexican and Chinese dishes. (From Sunset New Western Garden Book)

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