Tag Archives: cilantro

The Usefulness of Cilantro

Cilantro Flowers
Cilantro is a mainstay of our cooler season garden. We love having it in meals and it also provides a pretty green spot in our garden. But besides eating the leaves, did you know about all the other parts you can eat? And did you know that it’s thought to be an aphrodisiac? And helps with digestion? And is the oldest herb mentioned in literature? Who knew?

We typically grow cilantro from seed in late winter and fall and it always grows healthy and large. We put it in full sun and provide it with moist soil and it grows to about a foot tall. During the times when we’re really on top of it, we’ll plant a handful of seeds every few weeks so we have a constant supply of it. But once we have had our fill and the season starts to change, it sends up these beautiful white flowers.
After the flowers come, they develop little round seed pods that when dried are commonly called coriander in America. In other countries both the leaves as well as the seedpods can be called coriander, so make sure to read your recipes carefully to find out what part of the plant they mean. Dried coriander seeds are commonly used in Indian curries. We’ve tied ours upside down until they fully dry. We’re looking forward to some delicious curries this winter.

While I knew about eating the leaves and seeds, I just found out that you can also eat the roots. I read about that in Ruth Reichl’s book, Comfort Me With Apples(which is a fantastic read). On her trip to Thailand, she discovers them making stir fries with cilantro root. We haven’t tried this yet, has anyone else? At first glance, they don’t look especially appetizing, but we should give it a try one of these days.
Cilantro Roots
The taste of cilantro is pretty distinct. Do you like it? Or do you hate cilantro? You might not if you are of European heritage. It’s been said that those of European descent don’t care for it, and thinking of it, cilantro or coriander has never been a big hit in Europe. My mom can’t stand the stuff, but me, oh I really enjoy it. What do you think of it?

Update: If you are having troubles with your cilantro bolting, you may want to try this Slow Bolt Cilantro variety.


Filed under books, Leafy Greens, what we've learned

Chef Celebrity Sighting & The Left Side

Yesterday we made a trip down to Marin to go to the Farmer’s Market, which we try to do at least once a month. (oh and Katrina, even with your notice, we of course arrived without our own bags at Bring Your Own Bag day!) As we were strolling through the middle aisle I realized that Tyler Florence, his wife and young son were walking right towards us! I had heard that he had moved somewhere around here. Anyway, we were trying to play it off very cool, as though, ‘oh yeah, that’s just Tyler Florence shopping at our market, no biggie’. But of course as soon he passed we turned right around like gaping fans and looked as he walked by. Poor guy, just trying to shop with his family and he’s got people like us staring at him. Over the years we’ve watched almost all of his shows but Tyler’s Ultimate is my favorite. My mouth is always watering at the end of the show at whatever he’s just created and I always think, I have to download that recipe. He’s a great food stylist and his lighting guru is a master. And it was nice to see him just walking around with his family taking in a lovely Sunday at the market. His son looked just a bit younger than our youngest and I smiled as I passed him later struggling to keep his son from wiggling out of his stroller….a situation I deal with daily. It made him seem like a real and genuine person. From the look of his website it looks like he’s going to open a place in Mill Valley.

So, onto the garden. I’ve been so overwhelmed with all that has gone on in it. April is always full of crazy growth, and new plantings so it’s hard to keep up. So this week, I’ll be starting from the left and moving, as the week goes, over to the right of the yard. Scott constructed some quickie, pell-mell sort of raised beds to house our cold weather spring crop and they look very happy there.

collards, peas and cilantro
We are trying collard greens for the first time, planted with some very slow growing peas, cilantro and parsley.

Next to that is a bed of broccoli, cauliflower and raddiccio hidden in the middle, contained by our snail guards. I think a few carrot seeds were sprinkled in there last week, but none have come up yet.

bok choy
And next to that bed, is this bed of bok choy. It’s our first year growing that too and we are enjoying having it young. You know how fiberous it can be when it’s fully mature—chew, chew chew.

Behind all of those we have a bed of radishes, remember when they were so tiny? Radishes grow quick. In fact at the begining of October of 2006 one of our neighbors who runs the Slow Food Movement in town was running for city council. He stopped by our house campaigning and gave us a package of radish seeds and told me, “plant these today and by the time you are ready to eat them, you’ll remember me and hopefully vote for me on November 7th.” Sorry to report that he didn’t win the election, but I certainly voted for him.

Oak leaf lettuce
Next to the radishes is our lettuce and raddiccio patch. We’re growing a bunch of different lettuces there and since the chickens have been relegaded to the cottage yard (note to self: chickens love lettuce), they are all growing beautifully.

And to cap off the left side of the garden, our artichokes. We aren’t getting that many this year. In fact it seems like artichoke prices are through the roof this spring. One sign at the farmer’s market this year read ‘$4/artichoke’! Has anyone read anything about the artichoke crop this year?

So that is the state of affairs for the left side of the yard, next up, the center plot.


Filed under Growing Challenge, Our Weekends, State of the Garden