Treading Into Cilantro Land – Herb of the Week

Cilantro is popular in many of the world's cuisines.

Cilantro is popular in many of the world’s cuisines.

When I was in my late teens, I went on a backpacking trip in Northern California. The weather was warm, and I clearly remember being on a hike near a reservoir. At some point in the hike, I slipped down a small slope that was covered with wild cilantro. At that point in my life, I would have rather fallen into a pit of poison oak because I hated the smell of cilantro so much. Flash forward way too many years to count and even more culinary adventures, and I can proudly say that I actually like cilantro!

And so I tread carefully into cilantro land this week as I know there will be many haters. Did you know there is actually an I Hate Cilantro blog as well as a Facebook group with over 3000 members dedicated to haters of cilantro? Even Julia Child hated the herb! Apparently, there is scientific evidence to indicate that cilantro hating may be genetic (oh, good, something else to blame your parents on). I’m not sure what turned the tide for me. All I can say is that I hated the stuff and now I think it is a culinary necessity to have in my herb garden. It adds a brightness to food that parsley can’t always accomplish.

Cilantro, which is also know as coriander, is one of the oldest herbs, with historical mentions dating back to 5000 B.C.E. Cilantro is both an herb and a spice since its seeds are also dried and used. In ancient times it was used as a perfume, and to preserve meat. It contains over 80 nutrients, and is high in Vitamins A, C, and K. Medicinally, it has been used for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties. On the culinary front, cilantro is most popular in Mexican, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Grow cilantro indoors as well!

Grow cilantro indoors as well!

Growing cilantro is easy, especially from seed. Soak the seeds in room temperature water for 24 hours to start the germination process. Plant your seeds and cover with 1/4 of soil. When your seedlings are 2-3″ tall you can thin them out 4″ a part. Cilantro needs full sun but can handle afternoon shade. In fact, too much hot sun will cause the plant to bolt or go to seed. Plant Cilantro in the fall or early spring. Like dill, I always let a few plants go to seed. The flowers attract beneficial insects, and you can harvest the seeds to use again.

So tell me, I can take it…are you a lover or a hater? (Don’t worry, there will be a super yummy cilantro cocktail on Friday!)


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30 comments on “Treading Into Cilantro Land – Herb of the Week
  1. Anna says:

    OMG. I don’t mean to be a hater, but ew.

    I cannot STAND cilantro…unless of course is it SUPER soaked/masked by some alternative ingredients in an amazing pico de gallo.

    For me, it’s certainly not genetic…and actually, I’m the backwards opposite of you – I liked it as a kid. I grew to hate it. Something about the smell, taste and texture…yup it all bothers me.

    So, please eat extra for me…and the late Julia Child – RIP.

    🙂 Anna

  2. Heather says:

    I’m on the fence, so I guess call me a liker? It’s hit or miss with me to be honest!

  3. Fi says:

    I’ve never heard of this herb before, I’ll have to try it.

  4. Natalie says:

    I don’t mind cilantro, but my husband is one of those people who HATES it! I love some sprinkled on the tops of tacos!

  5. Chelsea says:

    I had no idea that cilantro and coriander were the same thing! The only thing I ever really put cilantro in is homemade salsa, but then again I’m no pro-chef haha. I don’t mind the taste, I definitely think it adds something to my salsa and is necessary for it, but you can for sure go over the top with it and it tends to overpower all the other flavors.

  6. chelle says:

    I’m a recent convert. I like it in Mexican food. 🙂

  7. Selbe says:

    I love cilantro! It just makes things taste so much better! Definitely a fan here!

  8. Alexis Cass says:

    Cilantro is a staple in our house. I love it!

  9. Candace says:

    I’m not a huge fan of it unless it’s sparingly in salsa. I’m not a green garnish fan really. This reminds me of the Sex and The City episode where Carrie says she’s allergic to parsley. Haha!

  10. brita says:

    omg. I LOVE cilantro. SO much. I was pretty shocked to find out that there are people that don’t like the smell or tasty of cilantro. I’ve tried growing it without a ton of success. I will get a big crop of it but then it doesn’t seem to grow back right. I need to figure it out because I buy it weekly and would love to be able to grow it

  11. Frenchell says:

    Cilantro is my favorite of favorites!! It makes everything taste fantastic!

  12. Nancy says:

    To be honest, I only stick to the herbs I know well and that’s it. I’m the most boring cook. I don’t remember if my husband & I liked Cilantro when I bought it….that one time. I’ll have to give it another go.

  13. Erica says:

    I am a huge fan of cilantro. Maybe something to add to my garden when I get one 😉

  14. Shipra says:

    I love cilantro. We use it a LOT in Indian cooking, as well, including coriander powder, which is also cilantro. 🙂

  15. Celeste says:

    I LOVE cilantro!! And I love this post because every year I try to grow cilantro in my garden (bc I love it so) and every time it goes to seed so fast! I never have any success- I’ll definitely need to try these tips!

  16. Heather says:

    I LOVE Cilantro! Most people in my life despise it! I am definitely adding it to my garden next year! 🙂

  17. Debra says:

    LOVE! Cilantro makes leverything better! Well, maybe not cereal.

  18. Brenda says:

    Cilantro always seems to be a love/hate thing with people. They either love it or hate it! I absolutely love cilantro, but my dad hates everything about it and could never have it in the house growing up.

  19. I’m slowly learning to like cilantro and would love to add some to my garden! I just can’t use too much at one time!

  20. Alyssa says:

    Fresh cilantro is always the way to go! My mom makes the best salsa with this stuff!

  21. All my life when people talk about Cilantro I thought they meant Parsley. Now I understand that it’s actually coriander and what I thought was parsley is actually coriander. Cue a lot of confusion and sudden realisation… Whichever though, I don’t mind either of them 🙂

    Katie <3

  22. Rebekah says:

    I love cilantro in some things, and not others – like in guac… love it. but I don’t like Pico de Gallo

  23. Jessica Doll says:

    I really like cilantro, but only sometimes. I really love it with lime and chicken or rice.

  24. Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs. It tasts amazing and is super healthy. What more can you ask?

  25. kendall says:

    I almost never cook with it – to be honest I never knew what to use it for!

  26. Thank you so much for sharing this information about cilantro! Especially on how to grow it.

  27. Cilantro is a fav of ours in the kitchen! I never thought to grow our own. Thanks for sharing!

  28. Winter White says:

    I honestly don’t mind cilantro one bit! It’s always interesting to me to find people who hate it because they usually feel so strongly about it and it’s so funny. I have a friend who hates it and when go out she always asks if it’s in the food and you’d be surprised how many people cook with it.

  29. I’m a massive cilantro fan 🙂

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