June 15th, 2009


Fun With Coriander

Several of us were talking about coriander the other day.
(btw, the preceding was entry #561 on my list of the “Top 1,000 Sentences I’ll Never Begin a Post With,” so I guess I’ll have to knock that one off the list)
But it’s true; we really were talking about coriander. In the course of our discussion and ensuing research, a few interesting facts came to light.

Topping the list was the fact that coriander and cilantro are different names for the same plant. I’m sure some of you knew that but we sure didn’t. The term coriander is usually what we call the seeds of the plant, while cilantro, in the U.S. anyway, is what we usually call the leaves. The two taste nothing like each other, to my palate anyway, but I thought that was a good fun fact.

Coriander/cilantro is an Old World plant, having been cultivated in the Near East and southern Europe for millennia. It was brought to the New World over 300 years ago, so it’s had a lot of time to become ingrained into New World cuisine, particularly the cuisine of Latin America.

A few other historical notes: Coriander is mentioned in the Old Testament (Exodus 16:31). Also, the remains of coriander seeds were found in abundance in King Tut’s tomb. So there!
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