Cilantro

What do you think of when you here “Cilantro”? Salsa, that’s right! How boring would salsa be without that wonderful flavor? But did you know that it is fantastic in salads, soups and even eggs? I didn’t think so!

* Annual in growth habit, reaching 2-3 feet tall.

* Cilantro produces very delicate umbels (flowers) that resemble parsley flowers and the blooms appear 3-4 months after sowing.

* The leaves on this fabulous herb are flat and ferny like in appearance. Some say that they think it resembles Queen’Anne’s Lace and I agree especially when cilantro begins to bloom!

* Cilantro leaves have a sharp “green” flavor and aroma. There are many who can’t get past the scent (my husband for one).

* Since Cilantro does not transplant well, sow the seed directly in the soil 6 weeks before the last frost in your area. Make additional plantings each and every month until August so you are sure you have this delightful herb when the tomatoes are in season!

* Plant in full sun and give this herb a well-drained soil to live in with moderate fertility.

* You will space your plants 8-10 inches apart.

* Cilantro is usually pest free. One year I seen what we call a spittle bug but the insect did not do any damage to the plant.

*If you have poorly drained soil, Cilantro may get root rot or leaf spot.

* You can start harvesting when plants are just 6 inches tall. Gather the leaves in the early morning in both spring and in the summer before the plants bloom. Harvest the seed when dry and fully ripe, summer through the fall. This herb is then called Coriander.

* To harvest this herb, cut the leaf where it attaches to the stem. If you are going to save the seed (Coriander), enclose the seeds (in a small brown bag is perfect) to keep the seed from dropping to the ground.

* If you are not going to eat this herb fresh, freezing in ice cube trays (in water) is the only way to preserve it. Drying the herb is dull in color and lifeless in taste.

* Cilantro leaves can be added to any tomato dish, salads, fish, poultry or legumes. You might also try your hand at making an extra virgin oil using Cilantro for cooking. Add your extra Coriander seeds to potpourri for fragrance.


Tips
Cilantro is known for self-sowing itself. Not a bad thing really if you want a repeat crop in the same season! Pinch off the flower buds for continued growth. Once Cilantro starts to flower, you can almost kiss that plant good-bye. Even if you cut the flowers off after the flowering, it will never return to its robust growth and flavor! Be sure you try Cilantro in a garden salad. It is wonderful!

THINK HERBS!