The Humble Cilantro Plant

By Claire Lukka

As the husband and I laid out our meal plan for the upcoming week, it was with excitement that I realized cilantro wasn’t on our grocery list.  Why you ask?  I love cilantro, but it’s a pet peeve of mine to have to buy the huge bunches available only to use it once or twice and find scummy brown cilantro in my fridge ten days later.   Did I not have a curious and adventurous cat I might have the fortune to grow cilantro indoors year round.  But my indoor herb garden attempts have been thwarted in the worst ways, like pots of dirt on a new beige futon.

Cilantro is delicious on so many different types of cuisines: Mediterranean, Mexican, Indian, and especially on fish tacos, our Thursday meal for this week, giving any dish a fresh summery taste.  I grew up calling the herb, abundant in my Mom’s garden, coriander but as an adult learned that coriander is the seed and cilantro is the leafy herb.  Fear not if you find cilantro revolting, as it is believed that some people are actually genetically pre-disposed to disliking cilantro.  Without going into the chemistry-related specifics (i.e. the offending aldehydes), to some, cilantro tastes akin to soap.

Like a whole lot of other sun-starved Canadians, I eagerly weeded, seeded and primped my garden on this May long weekend.   An herb garden is a rewarding part of a garden because it’s low maintenance and can yield nearly all season long.  It was with genuine excitement that I planted a large healthy cilantro plant and came to the realization that I wouldn’t have to buy a huge bunch of cilantro from the grocery store only to end up composting a largely unused portion. 

Fresh herbs really are a treat.  It is so satisfying to grab a pair of scissors, head outside and snip off something I have grown myself to finish a dish perfectly.   So here’s to true signs of summer and taking a moment to revel in the thrill of freshness at one’s fingertips!

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