Coriander, also known as cilantro, is a popular herb that is widely used in cooking all around the world. This herb is loved not only for its unique taste but also for its various health benefits. The leaves and seeds of the coriander plant are both used in cooking, and fresh coriander can add a burst of flavor to any dish. This article will cover everything you need to know about growing and caring for coriander indoors. Check out our other Care Guides for edible herbs like the, Rosemary Guide, Citronella Guide, Basil Guide, and Chive Guide.
Facts about Coriander
The coriander plant is an herb commonly used in cooking a lot of recipes. Particularly, in worldwide cuisines such as Indian, Mexican, and Thai. So, the coriander plant is native to the Mediterranean and part of the Apiaceae family, including carrots, celery, and parsley.
It is commonly referred to as cilantro in North America. In other parts of the world, it is known as coriander. The use of coriander as a medicinal herb dates back to ancient times, with Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all using it to treat digestive issues, skin conditions, and more.
The term “coriander” is used to refer to the entire plant, including both the leaves and the seeds. The leaves are known as “cilantro” and are commonly used in cooking for their fresh, slightly citrusy flavor. On the other hand, the seeds have a different taste that is more earthy and nutty. The leaves and seeds have different flavor profiles. The leaves taste citrusy and fresh while the seeds have a warm, earthy flavor.
Its seeds are used in pickling and as a spice for baking and cooking. The essential oil of it has antimicrobial properties. It makes it a popular ingredient in soaps, lotions, and other personal care products. So, it is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and magnesium. The leaves contain compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Also, the seeds have a calming effect on the digestive system and are used to treat indigestion, bloating, and flatulence.
The leaves of the plant have a fresh, slightly citrusy flavor that is hard to describe. Some people describe it as tasting like a mixture of lemon and parsley. The seeds have a much different flavor, with a nutty, earthy taste that is often used in spice blends and curries.
In some cultures, it is believed to bring good luck and is used in love spells and amulets. Another thing, it has a strong aroma that is described as being soapy or lemon-like, and some people find it unpleasant or even offensive. Coriander is a quick-growing plant and can be harvested multiple times throughout the growing season. The leaves are more fragrant when they are fresh and tend to lose their flavor quickly when dried. So, it is best to use fresh coriander whenever possible.
Uses of Coriander
Coriander is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. The leaves can be chopped and added to salads, salsa, and guacamole, and they can also be used as a garnish for soups and stews. The seeds can be ground and used as a spice in curries, spice blends, and marinades. Additionally, it has been used for centuries for its health benefits and as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments.
Benefits of Coriander
Coriander benefits have many health purposes, including:
It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and pain in the body.
It is rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
May Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Some studies have shown that coriander may help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
May Improve Digestion
It can help improve digestion and may even have a mild laxative effect.
May Have Anti-anxiety Effects
Some studies have found that coriander may have anti-anxiety effects and may help reduce stress and anxiety.
Coriander Plant Care
Growing coriander indoors is relatively easy, and it’s a great herb to have on hand for cooking and for its health benefits. Here are some tips for growing and caring for coriander indoors:
It needs a lot of light to grow, so make sure to place it in a sunny window or under grow lights. This plant will tolerate some shade in the height of summer.
Coriander likes well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. So, keep the soil compost and avoid overwatering.
Coriander needs to be watered regularly, but be careful not to overwater. The soil for this plant should be kept moist but not waterlogged.
It prefers a temperature range of 60-75°F. Avoid placing it near any sources of direct heat or cold drafts. It can withstand several light touches of frost and is, therefore, an excellent fall crop.
Fertilize it every 2-3 weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer. The plant needs to be fertilized 1-2 times during its growing season. Apply 1/4 cup of nitrogen fertilizer per 25 square feet of growing area. So, you should take into consideration, not to over-fertilize.
You can start harvesting the leaves when the plant is about 4-6 inches tall and snip off the leaves as needed, ensuring not to take too much from one plant at once. The seeds can be harvested when they turn brown and start to fall off the plant.
Other Alternatives for Coriander
If you can’t find fresh coriander, you can use a few alternatives in cooking. Some of these include:
Parsley has a similar flavor profile to the coriander flavor and it can be used as a substitute in most recipes.
Cilantro Paste or Dried Cilantro
Cilantro paste or dried cilantro can be found at most grocery stores. So then, it can be used as a substitute in recipes calling for fresh coriander.
Basil or Mint
If you’re looking for a substitute for coriander in a specific recipe, basil or mint may work well, depending on the dish.
Coriander is a flavorful and versatile herb that is easy to grow indoors. Its unique taste and numerous health benefits make it a great addition to any kitchen garden. With proper care and attention, your plant will thrive. So, it will provide you with fresh leaves and seeds for all your cooking needs.
Elyssa Goins is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mom of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has been published in a Scientific Journal, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.