Herbs & Spices
Season for Cilantro Available Year Round
From this plant, the fresh green leaves and stalks (generally referred to as cilantro, but you'll also see them labeled as Chinese parsley or coriander, too) are edible, as well as the berries, which are dried and called coriander seeds. Their lively, pungent fragrance and flavor lend themselves well to highly spiced, exotic fare. Even though the name coriander comes from the Greek word for bug, this plant produces one of the world's most commonly used herbs. Cilantro is strong-smelling with a fresh, citrus taste that makes it a culinary delight.
How to Buy and Store Cilantro
When looking for fresh cilantro, choose leaves that are bright, deeply-colored and appear vibrantly fresh. Avoid any signs of wilting or yellow or brown spots. Cilantro may be stored wrapped for up to a week in your refrigerator. You may want to place the bunch, stems down, in a glass of water and cover it, changing the water every couple of days to maintain the most freshness.
How to Cook Cilantro
With fresh cilantro, owing to its fragility, wash it just before using. A good way is to swish it around in a bowl of cold water to dislodge any dirt and particles. We all know that cilantro is vital to the success of any salsa recipe. But the strength of this herb can liven up fresh and cooked dishes alike. For maximum flavour, it is best added to dishes just before serving or simply as a garnish over the top that can be mixed in. Add fresh cilantro to marinades, salads, over curries and in Mexican fare, of course. Some people think that crushing the leaves brings out their flavor, but since they're so flavorful all on their own, you can chop it or add it whole, too.
Health Benefits of Cilantro
Many of cilantro's breadth of healing properties can be attributed to its awesome phytonutrient content which make it a powerful fighter against blood sugar, cholesterol and those darn free radicals. It's traditionally called the "anti-diabetic" plant. Cilantro is also a powerful natural cleansing agent, helping to remove heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body and can even protect agianst Salmonella.
Why Buy Natural and Organic Cilantro
Recently it has come to light that conventionally-grown cilantro contains a treasure trove of pesticides, and not in a good way. Random USDA produce tests showed at least 34 unapproved pesticides on samples of fresh cilantro that were not removed with washing, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. What's that mean? Don't even think about skimping on organic when it comes to this delicious salsa shining star!