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How to Grow Cilantro and Coriander - The Herb Spice Duo in The Garden

Updated on February 2, 2017
MarleneB profile image

Marlene is an urban farmer who enjoys preparing meals from fruits and vegetables grown in her garden.

Cilantro and Coriander
Cilantro and Coriander | Source

Cilantro and Coriander From the Garden to the Kitchen

Some chefs say you either like cilantro or you hate it. I have heard many chefs say they absolutely cannot stand the taste of cilantro. My husband, also known in our house as Chef David, is the chef in my kitchen. He adores cilantro so much that it is a prominent herb growing in our backyard garden. It grows very well. Now, to be honest, there was a time when I was not particularly fond of cilantro and whenever my husband prepared a meal containing cilantro I would ask him to “hold the cilantro” or set aside a portion of the meal that would not contain cilantro.

The first season Chef David harvested cilantro and brought it into the kitchen, I was immediately taken by the aroma which drew me in to taste it. To my surprise, I was pleasantly rewarded with a flavor that I can only describe as slightly nutty with a bit of lime and a hint of sweetness. It seems that the fresher the cilantro, the better the flavor.

While cilantro and coriander are products of the same plant, the flavor of each is slightly different. Cilantro has a light aroma and flavor. Coriander, on the other hand, has a more robust, pungent aroma and flavor. Because cilantro grows heartily in the garden, Chef David uses both cilantro and coriander in many of the dishes he prepares.

Cilantro and coriander is an herb/spice duo that has become a staple in my kitchen.

At the end of this article I share one of my favorite recipes, "Quick and Easy Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander."

Cilantro in My Kitchen

The cilantro leaves are classified as herbs in the culinary industry.
The cilantro leaves are classified as herbs in the culinary industry. | Source

Plant Hardiness Zone

Find your Plant Hardiness Zone using the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) search tool. Simply enter your zip code to discover in which zone you live. Next, use a Frost Date Chart to determine the best time to plant according to your hardiness zone.

How to Grow Cilantro

Cilantro practically grows itself. To start, find a sunny place in your garden where you can allow cilantro to grow continuously, season after season. You can plant cilantro directly into the ground or in a container. Plant cilantro in the spring or fall, about one month before the last frost. The soil should be a pH of 6.2 to 6.8.

  1. Make small holes in the soil, about 1/4 inch deep and about 2 inches apart. Place a seed in each hole and then cover with a light layer of soil. The gardener in the following video, "How to Grow Cilantro or Coriander or Chinese Parsley" suggests crushing or splitting the seeds before planting, but I have never crushed the seeds and they grow anyway. I imagine the seeds germinate more quickly when spit or opened.
  2. Water and then keep the soil well-drained (moist but not wet).
  3. In about 10 days, the cilantro will germinate and you will be able to begin harvesting your cilantro in about 2 to 3 weeks.

How to Grow Cilantro or Coriander or Chinese Parsley

Cilantro bolting in my garden.
Cilantro bolting in my garden. | Source

Once Planted Cilantro Grows Continuously

Cilantro is an annual plant. Annual plants die off every season, however before dying they produce and drop seeds to the ground. When the weather is right for the plant to grow and mature, the seeds will germinate and grow into a new plant again. Cilantro prefers cooler climates, so as the weather begins to warm, the cilantro plant begins to develop long straggly stalks with pretty white flowers at the top.

Gardeners call this “bolting.” When you see these flowers, get ready to collect some of the seeds that will surely fall to the ground. These seeds are what are called coriander.

Coriander in My Kitchen

The coriander seeds are the "fruit" of the plant and used as a spice, whole or crushed.
The coriander seeds are the "fruit" of the plant and used as a spice, whole or crushed. | Source

Coriander the Spice

Coriander is the seed that forms from the cilantro plant. Coriander is the spice used in many Indian dishes, such as curry. It is also used in spice rubs for fish and chicken.

Cilantro, coriander, and the pestal and mortar used to grind the coriander.
Cilantro, coriander, and the pestal and mortar used to grind the coriander. | Source

Harvesting Cilantro and Coriander

Cilantro is the leaf of the plant and typically used as an herb. Coriander is the seed of the plant and usually used as a spice. Harvest the plant according to whether you want to use it as an herb, spice, or both. The plant will self-seed itself and grow. You can also collect the seeds before they drop. Use the seeds as a spice, however, if you want to plant cilantro again, save some of the seeds for re-planting.

Harvesting Cilantro Leaves

Harvesting cilantro leaves is easy.

You can prolong the life of cilantro by harvesting in a manner that gardeners call “sustainable harvesting.” To sustainably harvest cilantro, use scissors or pinch off the cilantro stems and leaves with your fingernails. Harvest only what you need for a single meal. Because you leave the roots in the ground, the plant continues to grow until it comes to the end of its growing season.

Note: You will know when your cilantro is done growing when you see flowers start to bloom. Again, this is what gardeners call bolting. Once you see the flowers, be prepared to see the seeds (coriander). When you see the coriander seeds, you can harvest them from the flower.

Harvesting Coriander Seeds

Harvesting coriander seeds is a simple process.

  1. Clip the stems with the flower heads and all the seeds attached to them.
  2. Put the stems, flowers, and seeds into a large paper bag (flower head inside the bag).
  3. Tie the bag around the stems and then hang the bag upside down - outside in the sun or in a well-ventilated room for about a week or two.
  4. As the stems dry, the seeds fall off and into the bag. After the seeds have dried and fallen off, transfer the seeds to a large strainer and blow out some of the chafe. A hair dryer or fan comes in handy for this process.

Note: Upon opening the bag, you may notice some of the seeds are dry but have not fallen off the flower heads. No problem. Simply tap the stems with your hand or massage the flower heads to knock the seeds off.


Storing Cilantro and Coriander

Once harvested, take time to store cilantro properly. If you do not store cilantro properly, do not be surprised when you see soggy and brown leaves within a day or two. Store coriander properly or the seeds may lose their potency and become less flavorful.

Store Cilantro in a Plastic Bag

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Store cilantro in a glass with water, covered by a plastic bag.Store cilantro wrapped in a paper towel, then placed into a plastic bag.
Store cilantro in a glass with water, covered by a plastic bag.
Store cilantro in a glass with water, covered by a plastic bag. | Source
Store cilantro wrapped in a paper towel, then placed into a plastic bag.
Store cilantro wrapped in a paper towel, then placed into a plastic bag. | Source

Storing Cilantro

Cilantro leaves do not last very long at all. If you buy cilantro in the store, be sure to use it in your next meal. In a matter of days, the leaves become wimpy and don’t taste as good as when freshly purchased or picked.

If you must store your cilantro, wash it, discarding any spoiled stems and leaves, then choose either one of the two storage methods noted below.

  • Fill a glass jar with about a quarter inch of water, place the stems into the glass, place a plastic bag around the glass, and then place the container into the refrigerator.
  • Wrap a slightly damp paper towel around the stems and leaves, place the wrapped cilantro in a plastic bag, and then place the wrapped package into the refrigerator. Tip: Allow for air flow. Do not seal the plastic bag.

Note: You can freeze cilantro, however when cilantro is thawed, the leaves will be limp and some of the flavor will be lost.



Store Coriander in Glass Container

Store coriander in a glass container with a lid.
Store coriander in a glass container with a lid. | Source

Storing Coriander

After collecting and removing the chafe from the coriander seeds, place the seeds in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the contents sealed in a cool, dry place until you are ready to use the seeds whole or grounded up.

Nutrition Facts of Cilantro and Coriander

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cilantro is very high in potassium. One serving of cilantro is 100 milligrams providing 23 calories per serving. A teaspoon serving of coriander has 2 milligrams of potassium and zero calories.

The leaves are more potent than the seeds, however, both the leaves and the seeds are rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Also enjoy the benefits of more dietary fiber, calcium, selenium, iron, magnesium, and manganese.

Both cilantro and coriander are rich in antioxidants that help protect against free radicals in the body. Additional benefits reported are:

  • Lower sugar levels
  • Lower stress
  • Sleep enhancement
  • Protection against cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and high blood pressure
  • Prevention of urinary tract infections
  • Relieving digestive discomfort
  • Prevention of cancer

Coriander Oil Offers Health Protection

Coriander is one of several plants that produce oil that has been proven to ward off harmful bacteria and viruses.

“The effectiveness of cardamom, anise, basil, coriander, rosemary, parsley, dill, and angelica essential oils against pathogenic and saprophytic microorganisms was examined by Elgayyar et al. They concluded that essential oils extracted from oregano, basil, and coriander plants have an inhibitory effect against P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, and Yersinia enterocolitica in the range of 400 ppm concentration.”

— U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Disclaimer

The author is not a health care professional. While medical claims in this article are generated from medical journals and reports written by people in the medical industry, medical claims herein should not be relied upon as medical advice. Please seek the advice of your personal physician when making decisions about any medical conditions you may have.

Cooking With Cilantro and Coriander

The cilantro leaves have a citrus-like flavor which I absolutely enjoy with tomato-based recipes.

Grind coriander into a powder or use it whole. Some chefs describe the flavor of coriander seeds as sour, but I personally don’t find that to be the case. I’m not a chef, so my taste buds are not as refined. I find that coriander seeds have more of an earthy, mushroom flavor that enhances the flavor of dishes like chili beans. Also, when used in sour or tart recipes, such as pickles, coriander brings a woody flavor to the dish.

Every part of the cilantro plant is edible, including the flowers that blossom when the plant bolts at the end of its harvest. Many people use cilantro in sauces or as a garnish.

Cilantro looks like parsley, in fact many people call cilantro Chinese parsley. If you are shopping for cilantro and can't tell whether it is cilantro or parsley by looking at it, pinch a leaf and smell the aroma to determine the difference. Parsley has a barely noticeable grassy scent. Cilantro has an aromatic scent.

Pickles with Coriander
Pickles with Coriander | Source

The flavor of cilantro and coriander is altered when cooked with heat. This is why most chefs rarely cook with cilantro or coriander. Instead, cilantro and coriander are used mainly as a garnish to be added after the preparation of the food is completed or added toward the end of the cooking process.

In some regions, coriander seeds are roasted and eaten as a snack. In India this snack is called dhana dal.

You may recognize coriander as the little brown seeds in jars of pickles. Also, I have seen and tasted coriander seeds in sausages and rye bread.

Try My Salsa Recipe With Cilantro and Coriander

If you like fresh salsa, then you might want to try making my recipe for "Quick and Easy Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander."

Enjoy Hot and Spicy Salsa

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander, served with corn tortilla chips.Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander served with scrambled eggs.
Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander, served with corn tortilla chips.
Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander, served with corn tortilla chips. | Source
Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander served with scrambled eggs.
Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander served with scrambled eggs. | Source

Quick and Easy Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander

Cilantro and coriander are the stars of this salsa. Cilantro gives this salsa a mild citrus flavor while the coriander adds a warm, earthy flavor. The heat comes from the cayenne pepper. For more or less heat, you may adjust the amount of cayenne pepper to fit your spice tolerance preference.

Serve this salsa as an appetizer with corn tortilla chips or as a condiment on other foods like scrambled eggs.

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: Serves 10 people 1/2 cup of salsa

Ingredients for Salsa

Ingredients for the Quick and Easy Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander.
Ingredients for the Quick and Easy Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander. | Source

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves, chopped
  • 1 Teaspoon Coriander, crushed
  • 3 Cups Medium Roma Tomatoes (approx. 4), chopped
  • 3 Cups Medium Onions (approx. 2), chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Store-Bought Deli-Sliced Jalapeno Peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Juice From the Jar of Store-Bought Deli-Sliced Jalapeno Peppers
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic, minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
  • 1 Teaspoon No Salt Seasoning Mix
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, ground
  • 2 Tablespoons Store-Bought Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Store-Bought Salsa Picante

Instructions

Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and serve.

Whether you serve this salsa as an appetizer or condiment, it is sure to tingle the palate with the distinct flavors of cilantro and coriander.

Tips

  • The salsa is ready to eat as soon as you are done mixing it in the bowl. You can, of course, cover and refrigerate the salsa to serve later. In fact, in my opinion, when the flavors have a chance to mingle for about an hour or more, the salsa takes on a richer flavor.
  • Select the freshest vegetables possible for the chopped ingredients. For example, when selecting tomatoes, be sure to select firm tomatoes or the salsa will be more of a liquid texture.

Store-Bought Brands Used in This Recipe

To make this recipe quick and easy, some ingredients come from store-bought mixes. Here is a list of the brands I used to prepare this salsa. This is not a promotion of any particular brand. Ultimately, you may use the brand that you prefer or already have on your pantry shelf.

  • Deli-Sliced Jalapeno Peppers – Mezzetta
  • No Salt Seasoning Mix – Mrs. Dash
  • Taco Seasoning Mix - McCormick
  • Ground spices (excluding coriander) – McCormick
  • Salsa Picante – Valentina Salsa Picante (found in the ethnic food isle)

Please Rate This Recipe

4.5 stars from 2 ratings of Hot and Spicy Salsa With Cilantro and Coriander

Source of Information

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/coriander-seeds.html

Web MD: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-117-coriander.aspx?activeingredientid=117

Megan Ware RDN LD, Medical News Today: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/299739.php

U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5206475/

© 2017 Marlene Bertrand

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    • MarleneB profile image
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      Marlene Bertrand 6 weeks ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello Eric, it means a lot that you are using this article as a refresher for cilantro and coriander. I think you will really enjoy these two in your dishes.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 6 weeks ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello BODYLEVIVE, you are not alone in your distaste for cilantro. Many professional chefs despise the taste, too. I didn't like it at first, but now having it freshly picked, I really like it a lot.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 6 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Came back to refresh and plan for both of these for our garden. thanks again.

    • bodylevive profile image

      BODYLEVIVE 6 weeks ago from Alabama, USA

      I have never like the taste of Cilantro. My mother us to use that herb and loved it. One day I asked her why the dish taste so bad to me and she said some taste of herbs must be acquired. Well, that was one taste I didn't want to acquire!

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Hi ChitrangadaSharan. I never thought about using cilantro and coriander in shakes. That's a great idea. I have so much of it. I think I will try it.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Excellent hub about growing Coriander and Cilantro!

      I liked the other details about these wonderful herbs here. It is almost a regular in our food. We use it in chutneys, soups, salads, shakes and many other recipes. In summers this becomes almost a staple food because of its rejuvenating and refreshing properties.

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful and well written article!

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Yes, RTalloni. If you can find the coriander seeds that have been grown organically, that would be your best bet to a great start. The little plantings should be OK. The thing that shocks cilantro plants is when you dig them up, the little tap roots get cut and they don't like that. I think it is OK to plant the whole planter so long as you keep from disturbing the roots.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 months ago from the short journey

      That tells me that I should avoid buying small plants as starters but to start my own cilantro from seed. Thanks!

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello RTalloni. I do think you will enjoy this herb. It is good to have a special place to grow it because of the fact that it grows itself back each season, plus, cilantro is a plant that does not like to be moved after it has been planted.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 months ago from the short journey

      Such a good look at this herb. I hope to grow bunches of cilantro this year and establish a permanent spot for it to come back each year. This is very useful info. Thank you!

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Thank you for your feedback, Coffeequeeen. I started growing herbs so that I could have meals prepared with "fresh" herbs. It truly makes a difference in the flavor.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 2 months ago from Great Yarmouth

      To be honest, I've never tried growing herbs before. I do love coriander though. Your hub has been really interesting to read. The video and pictures are really good too. =)

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello Blond Logic. I am glad you enjoyed the article. I do like cilantro now that I can get it fresh and coriander adds a lot of "punch" to just about any dish it is used in.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      This is one of the most popular here in Brazil. In fact, it is difficult to find the seeds because everyone loves it fresh. I love it in salsa and in my salads. Cilantro, my husband doesn't care for it, but coriander he will happily use in stir-frys.

      Informative hub. Thanks

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello Karen Hellier. I have to admit, I only grow things that are easy to grow. Cilantro fits into that category quite well.

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 2 months ago from Georgia

      I am not much of a cook or a gardener but this detailed hub is fantastic and your pictures are amazing and really bring the content home. Great work Marlene!

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello MsDora! Cilantro has a 2 x 4 foot spot in my garden. So, that should be a hint to how much cilantro we consume in our house. Good thing it has a lot of nutritional value. Thank you for stopping by. And, thank you for your feedback.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Hi billybuc! I tend to grow things that I consume on a regular basis. It's fun walking out to the garden to pick fresh veggies for the meal. Thank you for stopping by to visit. It is good to see you here. Enjoy your day on the farm.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Delightful! We love cilantro at this (my son's) house, and my daughter in law makes her own own salsa. Thanks for these great tips and your recipe. Will also try growing cilantro.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly we have neither in our garden, but great suggestions and great recipes as a bonus. For all these things I thank you, my friend.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 months ago from Northern California, USA

      It is so good to see you, too Ericdierker. And, thank you for following me to know so much about my life journey. Yes you are correct, but hubby and I have not fully developed the acreage yet, so we have not moved into the house there. But, that will be happening soon. I have become passionate about gardening and writing about growing my own food has become a real joy. I hope you are successful with growing this beautiful herb.

    • MarleneB profile image
      Author

      Marlene Bertrand 2 months ago from Northern California, USA

      Hello thumbi7! I feel very fortunate that coriander grows very well here. Maybe you might have to crush the seed or split the seed before planting. I would at least give it a try and hope it works.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Now please let me know if I am right here. You were a real estate guru then you and Chef moved to some acreage and now instead of telling me how to avoid a foreclosure you are writing about Cilantro?

      Well you brought your game to the transition. This is the kind of recipe article that sets my taste buds on fire.

      We just feel a little bad here growing it. It is a staple for our Mexican immigrants in our markets. And I like to produce shop every day. But in 30 days this will also be in my garden. Thank you and great to see from you.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 2 months ago from India

      I have tough time growing coriander. Hardly few seeds germinate and they take ages to grow.

      Thank you for the informative hub.

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