Cultivating Cilantro!

Cilantro (aka coriander) is the mainstay herb in Mexican cooking. And let’s not forget that Middle Eastern cooking uses cilantro in yogurt-based sauces and dips.

Ready to spice up the herb garden with some cilantro? Here’s how! Cilantro prefers cooler weather; hot Long Island summers can cause it to flower and go to seed quickly (read on, there’s a purpose for the seeds).  So, how do you deal with a short-term crop that begs for long-term harvest? Easy; replant several times during the growing season to ensure a steady supply. Transplants can be added to the garden anytime they are available. Or grow-your-own from seeds; every 2-3 weeks, scatter a few seeds in the garden or in a container. Provide morning sun, and then some afternoon shade during the hot, summer months. Remember to harvest the outer leaves regularly and use soon after picking; dried leaves lose their flavor quickly. Flowers will produce coriander seeds that are used in Indian and Latin American cooking.

Helpful tips: flat parsley and cilantro can look a lot alike; it’s an honest mistake that’s often made until you smell the leaves.  Two great culinary herbs but very different tastes.