CORIANDER - extracted from the pages of One Planet

and at Kikkoman pages

Spanish CILANTRO, dried fruit, common name of the seed of Coriandrum sativum, a feathery annual herb of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae). Coriander leaves are called cilantro. Also known as Chinese parsley or coriander. This herb has a pungent, fresh and somewhat earthy taste. Native to the Mediterranean and Middle East regions, the herb is cultivated in Europe, Morocco, and the United States for its seeds, which are used to flavor many foods, particularly sausages, curries, Scandinavian pastries, liqueurs, and confectionery, such as English comfits. Its delicate young leaves are widely used in Latin-American, widely used in Southeast Asian and Thai cooking, in Indian, and Chinese dishes. Records of the use of coriander date to 5000 BC. The Romans used it to flavour bread. It was once used as an aromatic and carminative, but its only modern use in medicine is to mask unpleasant tastes and odors of drugs. Moses compared the color of manna to coriander seed. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it in love potions. Coriander was named after the bedbug emitting the same odor, and it is commonly named cilantro. It originated in southern Europe and reached other areas centuries ago, including the hanging gardens of Babylon. Ancient Sanskrit texts, Egyptian papyrus records, and the Bible all mention coriander. The Chinese believed it imparted immortality, and it was also used in love potions in the Middle Ages. Coriander was introduced in Massachusetts before 1670 and was one of the first herbs grown in America by the colonists.

The plant produces a slender, hollow stem 30 to 60 mm (1 to 2.5 inches) high with bipinnate leaves and small flowers in pink or whitish umbels. The fruits, or seeds, are two semi-globular fruits joined on the commisural, or inner, sides (a schizocarp), giving the appearance of a single, smooth, nearly globular fruit about 5 mm (0.2 inch) in diameter. They are yellowish brown and have a mild, fragrant aroma and aromatic taste similar to a combination of lemon peel and sage. The seeds contain from 0.1 to 1 percent essential oil; its principal component is coriandrol.


... It adds a pungent and aromatic flavor. Both the leaves and seeds are used, the leaves are bright green and used in Asian and South American cooking. The seeds are usually ground and used to flavor shish kebabs and Indian foods.

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