Among the innumerable herbs that exist to flavor dishes, a very popular one that is used in all corners of the world is coriander ( Coriandrum sativum ). An aromatic herb that, due to its ease of cultivation and the possibilities it offers, we have to leave a little hole in the garden or in a pot.
CORIANDER, A WORLD GASTRONOMIC AROMATIC
Now that summer is approaching, we have remembered one of the aromatic herbs most present in world gastronomy , which flourishes from now on throughout the summer. The coriander. It belongs to the Umbelliferae or Apiaceae family. Its origin is from the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Africa, although it is not entirely clear. In any case, it is currently cultivated in many more places in the world thanks to its ability to adapt to climatic and edaphological conditions somewhat broader than those of origin. Its size may vary but it is around half a meter. The leaves are very characteristic, sometimes confused with those of parsley if they are seen in passing. The white or slightly pinkish flowers bloom mainly in summer depending on the area, between May and September. The fruits are achenes in the shape of a globe and ribbed with two seeds inside.
MOST USED PARTS
In principle, any part of the plant is edible but the parts most used for its aroma are the leaves and seeds . The former normally fresh and the latter dried. The use of this aromatic herb in the world is very wide. There is a great difference in the use of the parts for use in the kitchen according to very differentiated content. For example, the leaves are the most used in the gastronomy of Central and South America, from Mexico (the famous guacamol e) to Chile ( Chilean pebre ) to season meats and make sauces typical of each culture and country on the American continent.
Throughout the eastern part of the globe from the Mediterranean to China itself, passing through North African kitchens, the dried and crushed seed is used more as a spice, in the preparation of such famous seasonings as curry among others. Of course, in Europe it is also used in meats and sausages (sausages among others) and we cannot forget one of our delicious Mojos de Canaria s, which would not be what it is without this aromatic. It is also used in liquor stores to flavor spirits and gin. As you can see, coriander is possibly the most widely used aromatic herb in the world.
ESSENTIAL OIL AND USE IN FOLK MEDICINE
Like almost any aromatic herb that we consume from a gastronomic point of view, coriander also has its medicinal properties and among them are: carminative, stomachic and antispasmodic. These properties are attributed to its essential oil, which has a high concentration of one of the two isomers of linalool, d-linalool (60-70%). This compound belonging to the group of terpenes is the one that has these effects and also constitutes the basic aroma of many detergents, soaps, creams, gels and other products of the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry.
CORIANDER CULTIVATION NEEDS
It does not have very specific requirements. In fact, it is easy to grow in a pot and at home although the smell of the fresh plant inside the house can be somewhat unpleasant.
It is a temperate climate plant. If we grow it in hot climates, growth is reduced and as a consequence the concentration of its essential oil. The exposure you prefer is high. Although the temperature is temperate, it appreciates a high luminosity . If you decide to grow it in a pot on a terrace or balcony, better facing south.
Soil preferences are usually very normal. Well-drained soil, rich in organic matter, fresh and fertile with a pH between 6 and 7. It tolerates limestone soils well. A recommendation that is usually given with respect to the soil is that if it has been fertilized with manure, you must wait a year to plant it.
As is usually the case with many of the plants we are talking about, we must avoid waterlogging at all times so as not to find ourselves with the situation of root rot.
Collection and use recommendations
- For the collection of the fresh leaf, the one that has the best aroma is the small leaf and they should always be collected before the formation of the fruits (achenes).
- Actually, the smell that the plant gives off can be, depending on taste, even unpleasant. It is a very strong aroma and when it dries it loses part of this intensity. The use of fresh or dried leaf is already a matter of taste.
- The seeds are collected in summer and late summer . The best way to obtain fully mature seed is to collect the fruit with its stem. A bouquet is made and hung upside down, so that the ripe seeds will fall into a container that we put underneath.