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28200: Pilling: (reply) Re: 28199: Re 28171 and 28184 (questions) About cilantro. (fwd)

From: Sara Pilling <sara.pilling@verizon.net>

As a former herb grower and lover of food, I was intrigued [maybe a word too
strong] about this conversation about the use of cilantro in Haitian food.

The term, Cilantro is the use of the LEAVES of the coriander plant
[Coriandrum sativum]. Apparently the Chinese even use the root of this

It is a relative of our Parley [Petroselinum sativum] plant, that comes in
flat leafed or the more usually found curly leaf.  So these plants are both
members of the Umbelliferae family; they flower and their delicate flowers
look like umbrellas, hence the family name.

For Cilantro, you don't want the plant to flower, as the leaves are then not
as pungent. Actually, for parsley also - not blooming, as parsley is in the
category of biennials [grow one year, bloom the next] you don't want it to
flower [for the same reason]. Of course, if you want coriander seeds [for
cooking] you do let it flower. Complicated!!

Unlike parsley [there's an old wives tale that parsley seeds 'have to go to
the Devil AND BACK' 4 times in order to sprout - easily avoided by
freezing/thawing the seeds 4 times before sowing]. Coriander/Cilantro seeds
germinate easily and quickly. Best to sow at intervals in order to have a
long supply, as it blooms and 'goes by' pretty quickly.

As to its use in Haitian cuisine, I've never seen it at the market, but then
my experience is limited - I do see great piles of 'greens' and wonder
what's in the pile - I know watercress [much to my surprise], 'spinach [more
often what we would call amaranth], etc. any recipe I've been given has
thyme in it most often [particularly Pe Desir's recipe - actually,
Mathilde's for soupe joumou.

So there; more than you ever wanted to know!! Personally, I can only eat
Cilantro in very small amounts - too strong for my palate!

Sara Pilling
29 Garrett Avenue
Rosemont PA 19010
Tel: 610-525-7331
Cell: 610-283-8775
E-mail: Sara.Pilling@Verizon.net

²Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate.. Don¹t take
yourself too seriously..Walk humbly with your God .²[Micah 6:8]