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Indispensable Books and Resources
  • Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
    Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
    by Dave Jacke, Eric Toensmeier
  • The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
    The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
    by Eliot Coleman
  • The Biological Farmer: A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming
    The Biological Farmer: A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming
    by Gary F. Zimmer
  • The Garden Primer: Second Edition
    The Garden Primer: Second Edition
    by Barbara Damrosch
  • 1500 Live LadyBugs - A GOOD BUG! - Lady Bug
    1500 Live LadyBugs - A GOOD BUG! - Lady Bug
    Organic Insect Control
  • Acres U.S.A.
    Acres U.S.A.
    Acres U.S.A.

    The best farming and growing magazine money can buy!

  • Seed Starter Soil Block Maker Makes 4 Medium Blocks
    Seed Starter Soil Block Maker Makes 4 Medium Blocks

    2" Soil Blocker

  • Mini Soil Blocker
    Mini Soil Blocker
  • New York City Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty
    New York City Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty
    by Emily Brooks
  • What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health
    What Doctors Eat: Tips, Recipes, and the Ultimate Eating Plan for Lasting Weight Loss and Perfect Health
    by Tasneem Bhatia, Editors of Prevention

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday
Jul152009

Weekly Musings: Cilantro/Coriander Root


Cilantro, also known as coriander or Chinese parsley, is a uniquely pungent herb used in many Latin and Asian dishes. Though most people use the leaves, every part of the plant - leaf, stem and root - can be eaten. Medicinally, it is used for a variety of gastrointestinal dysfunctions: indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, lack of appetite and as an antiflatulent. It is also used as a chelating agent to remove mercury in the body. It's commonly seen in many natural detoxification protocols but few clinical studies are available to support this use. Coriander has been found to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties in laboratory and animal studies and has been used to prevent food poisoning.  A study from Berkeley California found that the fresh leaves possessed bacteriacidal activity against Salmonella.  No wonder it's a common addition to cuisines of many third world countries. These are all important considerations given last year’s salmonella outbreak leading the the temporary unavailability of tomatoes and jalapenos. In addition, it is a rich source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Use this this herb liberally!


A lot of people have difficulty growing cilantro. The summer heat often leads to bolting and the ideal growing conditions are sunny but cool days. Finding an area that gets early morning or late afternoon sun, but shaded during the hottest part of the day, may help. You can also as try seeding more closely together so that the leaves provide some shade to keep the soil cooler. If, in the end, you only get bolted cilantro, there are various applications for its use.

The lacy flowers attract beneficial insects to the garden. This is an especially important consideration when growing food organically. We use a variety of different “beneficials” flowers to do what pesticides do - get rid of damaging insects. Cilantro attracts hoverflies which prey on aphids and mealybugs. If you leave the flower to seed, the seed can be used as a culinary spice. The flowers are also beautiful in flower arrangements.

Most people discard the stems and roots of the plant.  Don't throw it away!  Commonly in Thai cooking, the roots are used in soups and curry pastes. What I do is clean and dry the roots and freeze them. Over time, I’ve amassed a nice amount of coriander root to use in my cooking throughout the year. No need to defrost the roots when you need them, they can be chopped and pounded while still frozen.

 

 

 

Peppercorn-Coriander Root Flavor Paste


Use this as a marinade for fish, chicken or pork. I’ve used this with grilled chicken.  Let the marinade sit for 3 hours.

2 tsp black peppercorns
5-6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (about 2 Tbs)
3 Tbs coarsely chopped coriander roots
Pinch of salt
1 tsp Thai fish sauce

Place peppercorns and garlic in a mortar and pound to make a paste. Add coriander roots and salt and continue pounding to make a paste. You can use a small blender or food grinder instead. Stir in fish sauce. Makes 2-3 tablespoons of paste. Can be stored in a well-sealed jar for up to 4 days.

Adapted from the book Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

 

Farmer Pam, MD

Reader Comments (2)

Wow - I never knew that you could cook with coriander root - is the flavor like a radish? I tried growing daikon radishes this year and they've come out looking a lot like those! The flowers are really pretty... I'll have to try it again growing it in part shade this time.

July 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

It actually tastes just like cilantro but concentrated! Makes a mean grilled Thai chicken.

July 31, 2009 | Registered CommenterPam

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