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How To Grow Corriander

Plant: Annual

Height: 30-45cm
Soil: Light, Moderately Rich
Exposure: Sun
Propagation: Seeds
Uses: Culinary
Growing: Another sun lover, coriander prefers moderately rich soil that is light and drains well; but plant it in partial shade where summers are hot. It can easily be grown from seeds-sown where the plants are to grow-in the early spring. If you want to grow it primarily for the fresh leaves you can easily plant it in containers (indoors or outside) and harvest plants when they reach about 15cm. By sowing new seeds every two weeks or so you can have a continuous crop. Otherwise, you can pick young, tender leaves a few at a time beginning when plants reach 10-12cm; this will work for a few months until plants either wear out, become tough, or bloom.
Coriander is the name under which you will find seeds of this plant sold, but if you encounter fresh leaves for sale in the market they probably will be called Chinese parsley or cilantro. Coriander is a parsley relative and looks something like it but is an annual. It has one central flowering stem that grows upright from a tap root to a height of 30-45cm with other flowering stems branching out from it. The leaves growing on the main stem are oval with toothed edges, but those on the side branches are more lacy and delicate, resembling anise or dill. The small pinkish white flowers are in flat, umbrella like clusters at the ends of the stems.
Coriander is an ancient herb and referred to in the Bible in a comparison to Manna. Its seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs, and the Romans used them to preserve meat. Although the seeds have long been used to season foods, one herbalist in the 16th century had an odd belief that using too many (or green) seeds would cause a distressed and troubled mind.
The mature seeds are pleasingly aromatic and flavourful; use them in potpourris and to flavour beans, stews, sausage, pastries, and some wines. Harvest seeds in mid-summer as soon as they are ripe, or their weight will bend the stems to the ground and the seeds will drop off.
Fresh leaves often are an ingredient of Mediterranean, Latin American, Far Eastern, and some Oriental foods. It’s sharp, distinctive flavour (herb writers in the past often warned readers about the strong, unpleasant flavour of the leaves) combines best with fowl, meats, and spicy seasonings and sauces.