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Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs
Growing & Selling  
                Fresh-Cut Herbs
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Author Bio Biographical statement from the author of Growing and Selling Fresh Cut Herbs.

Sandie is a speaker
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Growing and Selling
Fresh-Cut Herbs

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Herb of the Month


Coriandrum Sativum
Hardy annual
To 18 inches

     Cilantro is sometimes referred to as coriander. Coriander is the seed of the plant and cilantro refers to the leaves. The two have a quite different taste and are not interchangeable in recipes. Cilantro is also sometimes called Chinese parsley.
     Cilantro is another one of the "love it or hate it" herbs. It has a pungent, almost soapy, aroma that clings to your hands even through several handwashings. It is, however, a very popular herb and is used in the cuisine from several ethnic groups. Perhaps the most popular use for cilantro is in the "Southwestern" or "Tex-Mex" dishes, and the ever-popular salsa dip.
     It loses its flavor when dried or cooked so it is almost always used fresh. This accounts for the fact that you will find unpackaged bunches in most supermarket produce departments, usually next to the parsley. Cilantro does hold its flavor reasonably well when frozen if it is used within a month or two.
     Cilantro is quite easy to grow from seed. It does not transplant well so it should be sown directly where it is to grow. Sometimes you will see little pots of cilantro for sale at nurseries or farmer's markets. It would be wise to save your money and use it to purchase seed, as the little plants will bolt to seed shortly after they are transplanted and will be useless.
     Cilantro is a very short-lived plant and it will go quickly to seed. There are some newer varieties that offer a prolonged harvest time. "Santo", Slo-Bolt" and "Jantar" are types that will give you just a week or two more time to harvest before the plant bolts to seed. With any of the varieties you will probably only get two cuttings from each plant. It will try to flower even on the very short stems left after the second cutting. Once cilantro begins to flower it should not be harvested, as the flavor will be bitter. If you use a lot of cilantro make plant succession plantings every few weeks to maintain a continuous supply.
     A single cilantro seed will send up one or two stems upon which one or two sets of leaves will grow. This is not a leafy plant so be sure to sow lots of seeds if you use this herb in abundance.
     Commercial growers that want to bunch their harvest should sow cilantro seed in clusters rather than each seed next to each other in a row. Harvesting and bunching is much easier if the plants are already growing in a bunch. The cilantro photograph on this page shows a cluster planting that contains a dozen plants or so.  

     Cilantro is covered in more detail in Chapter 17 of Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs by Sandie Shores.
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The comprehensive revised edition of Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs is available from author, most internet booksellers, bookstores, and in libraries.  It can be ordered from the distributor, Independent Publishers Group


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