Coriander

Coriander is one of the oldest herbs and spices on record. Coriander seeds are tan-colored, ribbed, lightweight fruits with subtle flavor that is warm and spicy with a slight hint of citrus flavor. Coriander spice has an aromatic sent which is soothingly warm, nutty, slightly fruity, and complex. Like other spices coriander is available throughout the year providing a fragrant flavor that is reminiscent of both citrus peel and sage. The fruit of the coriander plant contains two seeds which, when dried, are the portions used as the dried spice. When ripe, the seeds are yellowish-brown in color with longitudinal ridges. Coriander seeds are available whole or in ground powder form.

Coriander is native to Southeastern Europe and grown extensively all over Europe, Middle East, China, India, and Turkey. It is recognized as cilantro in the west. This herbaceous plant grows up to 2 feet in height with branching stems, featuring deep green soft, hairless, bi or tri-lobed leaves. The mature plant bears small light pink color flowers that subsequently turn into globular or oval-shaped fruits (seeds). The seeds measure about 4-6 mm in diameter with central hollow cavity containing two vertical vittae containing some important essential oils.

The seeds are ready for harvest when the plants turn brown, leaves begin to dry and fall. Immature seeds are light green  and taste bitter. To harvest, the crop is cut, tied in small bundles, and dried in the sunlight for several days.  Traditionally, to separate the seeds, either the sheaves are beaten with stick or a lightweight roller used to wear off the  pods.

The coriander plant produces both a spice and an herb. The leaf is know as cilantro and when the plant goes to seed, we  harvest the coriander seed. Coriander is used in many types of ethnic cooking, such as Latino, Middle Eastern, and Indian. In this country, it is also used to flavor cookies, pastries, breads, sausages and corned beef.Coriander or cilantro is a wonderful source of dietary fiber, manganese, iron and magnesium as well.

Culinary Uses:

  • Coriander holds a prominent position in the Indian kitchen. Coriander seeds, flavor many an Indian recipe with  their richness. This spice is an important ingredient in pickling, curry, the Indian spice mixture Garam Masala, Curry powder & various Spice blends in India.
  •  Coriander seed is best known as an ingredient in baked goods, but also goes well with a large variety of foods such as omelets potatoes, cheese and even chutneys.
  • Add coriander seeds to soups and broths.
  • Healthy sauté spinach, fresh garlic and coriander seeds, mix in garbanzo beans, and season with ginger and cumin.
  • Coriander seeds are generally toasted before being ground to bring out their full flavor.
  • Coriander imparts a very pleasing fresh taste to dishes.
  • In Indian dishes we first start with oil/ghee in a pan, then put some cumin or mustard seeds and then we put in coriander powder, turmeric and other spices and herbs.
  • Add coriander to carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, potato and most other vegetables and the vegetables add for a musky, earthy and fresh flavor.
  • Coriander seed is believed to be among the first few spices and is extensively used in drinks, food, desserts, and pastries
  • You can perfume your perfect rice with coriander seeds by adding 1 tsp ground coriander to the cooking water or strive for a crisp flavor by mixing 2-3 tbsp of coriander seeds.

Health Benefits:

In addition, coriander leaves are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and protein. They also contain small amounts of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, thiamin, niacin and carotene. Here go some of the health benefits of coriander leaves:

1. Coriander lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

2. A very good food for digestive system, coriander promotes liver functions and bowel movements.

3. Coriander is good for diabetes patients. It can stimulate the insulin secretion and lower the blood sugar levels.

4. Vitamin K in it is good for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

5. The fat soluble vitamin and antioxidant- Vitamin A, protects from lung and cavity cancers.

6. Coriander contains anti-inflammatory properties. This is why it is good against inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.

7. Coriander’s anti-septic properties help to cure mouth ulcer.

8. Coriander is good for the eyes. Antioxidants in coriander prevent eye diseases. It’s a good remedy in the treatment of conjunctivitis.

9. Coriander seeds are especially good for the menstrual flow.

10. It’s a very good herb to promote the nervous system. It can stimulate the memory.

11. Coriander helps those suffering from anaemia. Coriander contains high amounts of iron, which is essential for curing
anemia.

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