Herb of the Month – Coriander

CORIANDER – Coriandrum sativum

Cultivated in Mediterranean countries for over three thousand years, mentioned in all old Greek medical texts, and in early scriptures.

Now well known and used in New Zealand. Name derived from koris, Greek for bed-bug, as the plant smells strongly of the insect! In Spain and the Americas it is known as cilantro. Easy to grow and can become a widespread weed in areas of dry soil and sun shine.

Coriander is a hardy annual around 30 – 60 cms. with a solid stem and a thin pointed root. It has small flat compound heads of white to reddish pink flowers from mid summer to early autumn followed by brownish small fruit which smell awful until they ripen when they smell pleasant and spicy. Sow seeds in early summer.

They may be slow to germinate and will need thinning out. Coriander leaf is one of the most widely used flavouring herbs throughout the world today. Folk either love or hate the flavour! Buy a bundle for use from a super market, plant the roots and grow your own and let it seed! Dried ripe fruit is used in baking, as a condiment, and in liqueur. The root can be cooked as a vegetable.

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