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Growing and Selling Fresh Cut Herbs.
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of the Month
To 18 inches
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
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
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.
here to see a preview of the
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Herb of the Month pages.
comprehensive revised edition of Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut
Herbs is available from
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ordered from the distributor,
Independent Publishers Group.
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Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs
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