Cilantro….er, Coriander…no, wait…
November 18, 2008
I’m on the hunt for coriander (coriandrum sativum) with a high-cilantro leaf yield to grow indoors and I’m already running into problems.
First is the confusion between coriander and cilantro. This confusion can be addressed by looking at the plant, fruit and leaves.
From seeds catalogs I’ve read, there seems to be an even split between referring to the plant as coriander or cilantro. For my purpose, I’ll refer to the entire plant as coriander.
The fruit (edible seeds produced by the plant) is dried and used as a spice in European and Middle Eastern dishes. The seed’s aroma has been described as warm, nutty and spicy. Most people find it pleasant.
I’ll refer to the fruit as coriander seeds.
The foliage is a parsley-like garnish used in many Latin American and Southeast Asian dishes. Here are the few common names used around the world:
- coriander leaves
- cilantro (mainly USA and Canada)
- dhaniya (Indian subcontinent and in areas of the UK)
People either love or hate the taste of the leaves. Haters describe the taste as soapy and lovers as fresh and tangy. Our house is severely divided – I love it, he hates it. I’ll refer to the leaves as cilantro.
As if that wasn’t enough, there are other similarly-named plants that share some of the same compounds as coriander that gives it its distinct taste, such as long coriander (also from the parsley family and also known as Mexican coriander or culantro) and Vietnamese coriander (from the buckwheat family).
From what I can find online, there seems to be a few varieties of coriander c. sativum, such as “Jantar”, “Delfino”, “Santo” and “Chechnya”. Then there are generalized names such as “Large Leaf”, “Slo-Bolt” and “Pot”. I have no idea which of these results in the highest yield of cilantro. Anyone have any insights?