Coriander, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, is an edible herb that provides a unique flavor to foods. Coriander is widely used as a flavoring agent for many dishes around the world. Most notably, it is used in Mexican and Indian cuisines, but is also found in many other styles of cuisine from one hemisphere of the world to the other. Coriander is a fairly hardy herb and can be grown both indoors and outdoors, so having it accessible in your kitchen is not difficult.
The plant is a member of the Apiaceae family and is related to other plants like carrots, celery and parsley. The herb is classified as an annual and will only last one season. It prefers a sunny location, but can tolerate partial shade or being grown indoors. Coriander is a slow growing herb and it may take a few weeks to get the desired size before harvesting.
Coriander’s flavor is bright and lemony and it is most often used in savory dishes to add depth and complexity to the flavor profile. It is said to have a cooling effect on hot foods, making it ideal for dishes that have heat from the use of chilies or chili powder.
When selecting coriander from the market, the best quality is that which is fresh and aromatic. It should have a deep green color and fresh-looking leaves. The stems of the leaves should be tender and the leaves should have a strong aroma. It is best to avoid coriander with yellowing leaves or mold as this indicates that it has been stored for too long.
Fresh coriander can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks when it is wrapped in a damp paper towel. If you do this, make sure to change the paper towel every few days to keep the coriander fresh and flavorful. Alternatively, you can freeze coriander in a sealable plastic bag for up to six months.
This versatile herb can be used in a variety of ways. In its fresh form, coriander is best when added at the end of the cooking process to ensure its flavor does not dissipate. It can also be chopped and stored in the freezer for future use. Dried coriander seeds can be added to dishes during the cooking process and they usually impart a nutty, slightly sweet flavor.
Coriander is a wonderfully fragrant herb and adds an interesting flavor to many dishes. It’s also nutritious, with generous amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as essential minerals like potassium and magnesium. So, why not make coriander part of your regular culinary exploration? From adding its lemony flavor to guacamole to cranking up the heat in curries, having a hulking bunch of coriander in the fridge or freezer is a must. Have this herb in your pantry!