I love cilantro. To me it says summer, Mexican food, bright, fresh, bold, all things I like in foods. The ironic part of it all is that the cilantro plant (as it is known in North America) does not like the hot summers of Charleston. I have tried to grow it for three years now with no luck. I do have a new variety from a local nursery that they call “Charleston Cilantro” that seems to be doing quite well. From what I understan it is a native to Aisa called Rau Ram, but more on that latter. This year my plants survived long enough to flower and are now producing seed, which we all know as “Coriander”. This is much more exciting to me than most as I love to not only know, but to be able to experince how foods are grown and harvested. I have allowed the plants to flower and produce seed and am anxtiously awaiting the time at which I can pull the seeds, dry them out, toast them, and use them to cook with.
Cilantro plants before flowering.
Flowering cilantro plant.
Coriander seeds forming under the flowers of the plant.
I have used coriander in many a dishes from a simple seared Ahi tuna to a complicated but delicious curry. With this new experience I will now have a better understanding of how the ingredient is grown and harvested which leeds me to a better knowledge of what to expect when I order the spice from my purveyor. It also makes me wonder how good a cilantro vinegar or even a coriander vinegar may be?