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Healthy Tip: Celebrate Cilantro

By Alana Sugar, May 31, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar
No doubt there are things in this world we either love or hate: Certain politicians, certain subjects, certain insects, certain movies or movie stars, and certain types of foods, such as garlic, coconut, tripe, anchovies, coffee, chocolate or cilantro. Cilantro: I love it; my sister hates it. It has a unique, unmistakable aroma, more overpowering even than its flavor — and that seems to be why we have this whole love/hate thing going on with it. Some of us who love cilantro tend to load up our dishes with it, which is perfectly fine unless you have a cilantro-hater over for dinner. Planning a cilantro-laden menu? Invite me! Really though, you may want to check with your guests; remember that a bowl of fresh cilantro on the buffet allows everyone to season to taste. Commonly found in Southwestern dishes, salsas and dips, cilantro is often referred to as coriander or Chinese parsley. You’ll find it abundantly in Asian dishes and Indian dishes, too. Cilantro is the leaf of the coriander plant, the same plant that produces the little coriander seed, used in many popular dishes around the world. Cilantro delivers vitamin K and other antioxidants. It’s commonly used as a medicinal herb and is recognized for its ability to aid digestion as well as keep foods fresh. If you’re feeling adventurous and ready to slip into “cilantro-civilization,” I’ve got some great ideas to get you going: When buying cilantro, be sure to look for fresh green leaves with no yellowing or browning. They should have that strong, famous, pungent aroma. Don’t wash it until ready to use, and store in either a jar with water, just like you would a bouquet of flowers, or in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. As with all fresh leafy herbs, try to use it within a few days. Have you tried cilantro? Do you love it or hate it? Got a favorite way to eat it? I’d love to hear!
Category: Healthy Eating

 

30 Comments

Comments

Jen says ...
I love cilantro, but it is expensive and doesn't last that long. I usually need only a small amount, and the big bunch is going to go bad. I've thought of growing it, but can't find it among the herbs at any local nurseries. I tried starting it from seeds with little luck. You frequently see basil and other seedlings in the grocery store...why not cilantro?
05/31/2010 7:20:52 AM CDT
Food Makes Fun Fuel says ...
Cilantro is one flavor I just can't take
05/31/2010 7:24:31 AM CDT
Ash-Lauren says ...
I love cilantro! But like Jen said, it goes bad quickly. I love it in the edamame guacamole recipe on this site, as well as on pizza, in salads and pretty much anywhere :)
05/31/2010 4:59:00 PM CDT
Milcah says ...
I really like cilantro. I like to make my own fresh salsa and like the way it's readily available at my local shopping center for around 50 cents....Very affordable!
05/31/2010 5:54:10 PM CDT
Jenny says ...
I lived in Costa Rica for several years, and they use cilantro in almost everything. I learned the hands-down best way to keep cilantro fresh: Put it in a glass/jar of water, then cover the top with a plastic bag. Secure the bag with a rubber band, then put it in the fridge. It keeps for weeks!
06/01/2010 11:27:53 AM CDT
Jae says ...
I *love* cilantro! If I could, I'd wear it as a perfume!
06/01/2010 2:03:05 PM CDT
justonlyjohn says ...
no cilantro no peace! ;-)
06/01/2010 2:05:04 PM CDT
Gordon says ...
I like cilantro. Don't use too often but I like to use it mostly in soup dishes.
06/01/2010 2:08:28 PM CDT
Gina says ...
Hate it! Replace with parsley.
06/01/2010 2:10:14 PM CDT
Rachel says ...
Cilantro was something I really had to learn to love. I never had very much exposure to it growing up in rural Wisconsin, but when I moved to Los Angeles it was everywhere! Now it's easily one of my favorite herbs and I love collecting recipes that call for it, so thanks for sharing these!
06/01/2010 2:16:05 PM CDT
paprikapink says ...
This NPR story is two years old, but it's the best info I've seen so far about the polarizing taste of cilantro (strange that I was just looking it up this morning!) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98695984
06/01/2010 2:17:16 PM CDT
Raffi says ...
Ack! I only like this little green monster when prepared in something that cooks out most of its potency. Too often restaurants seem to haphazardly sprinkle it in a dish, leaving an overwhelmed customer. It is delicious though in slow cooked chicken...
06/01/2010 2:24:01 PM CDT
laura says ...
I love love love it and my husband hates it as much as I love it. Hmmm... :)
06/01/2010 2:28:57 PM CDT
Gubbins says ...
My favorite herb is Cilantro (or coriander as its known in the UK). Great in so many dishes; I just used it the other day to make a Cilantro Pesto to add flavor to my steamed vegetables. Some nice ideas to use it in other ways included in the above article...thanks for sharing :)
06/01/2010 3:56:36 PM CDT
Gloria says ...
Love it!!! (Just about any way but especially heaped on tacos in place of lettuce with salsa fresca.)
06/01/2010 4:01:31 PM CDT
Jean says ...
Blech! My mother used to grow it and add it to food - it is the one thing I truly can't tolerate. And I wish I could since I love Mexican food. Even a waft of cilantro repulses me.
06/01/2010 4:15:17 PM CDT
jeswel says ...
I dislike cilantro. I do not hate it, I can tolerate it but think it tastes like soap :) However my boyfriend loves this stuff and wants it on everything so I have just learned to deal.
06/01/2010 4:15:42 PM CDT
Mpongonis says ...
Love it!!! Any fresh herb is great!
06/01/2010 8:24:42 PM CDT
Misty says ...
Cilantro is my favorite herb. But the word on the street is that liking it or not isn't just a matter of taste but genetics. There is apparantly a recessive gene that causes cilantro to taste like soap to some people. I feel sorry for them. lol
06/01/2010 10:47:36 PM CDT
Barbara says ...
Try fish filets "papilotte" (wrapped in parchment paper)with a topping of a little butter, salsa, cilantro and lemon slices and baked 8 minutes at 450 degrees. Yummy! I, too, love cilantro. The Whole Foods recipe for Mango, Black Bean, Avocado and Cilantro Salad is outstanding. Try it!
06/02/2010 8:49:02 PM CDT
Syd says ...
ACK! Cilantro is VILE and EVIL (4 letter words of the same letters; coincidence? I think not...)!!!! I was so happy that the post started out with the suggestion that a side bowl of cilantro allows all of us to actually eat at the table, so I was quite disappointed to see the remainder of the writing to be about how to add it in to a bunch of dishes thereby completely destroying them since picking cilantro out is impossible and beyond useless. The problem with cilantro lovers is they believe everyone must love it as much so put it in everything and in great amounts. It's getting almost impossible to be served food that doesn't have undeclared evil vileness added to it. Mexican food used to be good. Not anymore. It's not that I'm unadventurous (I love garlic, onions, chilies) but if someone didn't want to add poo to their food most people wouldn't claim poo-totaler as timid. I'd rather drink a full bottle of dish soap as it's much more palatable. Also, no other ingredient goes around pretending to be parsley. YAY! The "I HATE CILANTRO" website is back! http://ihatecilantro.com/ :D
06/02/2010 10:54:29 PM CDT
Jasmine says ...
I LOVE cilantro. I'm the annoying cilantro lover that eats at Mexican restaurants and asks for a side of it for my food. I'll find anything to put it on, even my turkey sandwich with slices of avocado.... yummm.
06/03/2010 12:30:24 PM CDT
Zach says ...
LOVE it! It just has a really good distinct taste. Im from Texas, and I cannot think of a salsa that we eat that doesnt include at least a little. I use it in my cooking all the time. The one thing I find though is to be sure (especially in soups and stews) to add it as close to serving as possible. Otherwise if it gets too much heat, it looses something in translation.
06/03/2010 8:41:18 PM CDT
screwdestiny says ...
I'm not a fan. I can stand it if the flavor isn't very obvious...but with cilantro, it's hard to make the flavor not obvious. So generally, I shy away.
06/04/2010 1:26:13 AM CDT
nancy says ...
LOVE cilantro! Inexpensive way to freshen up almost any entree, side dish, or salad.
06/04/2010 11:12:42 AM CDT

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