Click for a PDF version of my Growing Cilantro Handout.
Cilantro is a fresh herb used all around the world in cooking. People in Mexico, India, Europe, North Africa, the United States and the Middle East use different parts of the plant to make tasty, healthy foods. Cilantro is the plant that grows from a seed called coriander. You may have some coriander in your spice cabinet, since these seeds can be ground and used both as food and as medicine. Coriander has a lot of compounds that protect our cells and help our digestive systems stay healthy. It can be helpful for bloating, cholesterol problems, type 2 diabetes, heartburn, lead poisoning, liver disease, stomachache, and inflamed skin1.
When you plant your seeds, sprinkle a few around in a wide, shallow pot and cover them with a little bit of soil (no more than ½”). Spray your seeds with a mister every day or two, but don’t use too much water or they could drown. When watering, make sure the soil is moist and can drain easily through holes at the bottom of the pot. You can keep the plant inside or outside. If you want to keep it outside, make sure you wait until after the last frost so the plants don’t freeze.
Cilantro grows quickly. You should see your sprouts within 10 days of planting your seeds. After about 50 days, you will be able to harvest your first batch of cilantro! Cut off some of the leaves in small bunches from the stems, rinse them and use them in cooking! When you cut just some of the leaves, the plant will put energy into making more! Cut a little bit of cilantro from your plant every week to get several harvests. If you let your cilantro plant grow without cutting the leaves, it will flower in 3 or 4 months, and these flowers will contain coriander seeds, which you can harvest, toast lightly in a skillet, and grind or use whole in food! It’s a good idea to keep a few extra seeds from your harvest so you can plant another batch in the summer or in the Fall and have cilantro and coriander for most of the year!
Check out the attached PDF Growing Cilantro Handout for a printable version of this post and a simple and delicious home made guacamole recipe by yours truly!