Healthy Tip: Celebrate Cilantro


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!

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