Are your cilantro plants going to seed? Mine are. They are getting bushier and more feathery every day. Before the flowers form is actually a great time to harvest the abundance and create some paste or frozen cubes to extend the harvest.
Just about every lunch and dinner I add cilantro, the fresh leaf of coriander (Coriandrum sativum) . I love the flavour and it's such a luscious looking plant with it's shiny green leaves and abundant white flowers. It's a favourite in my plucking salad garden just out my door - it's there with the arugula/rocket, lettuce, spinach, garlic chives, sorrel and welsh onions.
I gave significant haircuts to many of my cilantro plants that had not yet flowered. They will keep growing for a bit longer yet. Both the younger leaves and the feathery leaves are great to eat.
With this abundance I made cilantro paste, frozen cilantro blocks, and a cilantro satay sauce - there are so many other ways to try too - cilantro pesto is next on my list. What's your favourite way to use your cilantro surplus?
|Cilantro/coriander paste - the same mix I used for making the frozen cilantro blocks. I covered this with a layer of olive oil, sealed with a lid and put it in the fridge. It should last a few weeks - by which time most of my plants would have completely gone to flower.|
|Cilantro just before it goes to flower becomes a quite big - lots of leafy matter to harvest.|
|I chopped off bunches and bunches of leaf that included the younger leaves and the more feathery ones. All of them taste great and are super to use in these preserves.|
|It created quite a large pile on the kitchen bench.|
|I stripped the leaves from the stalks and packed them into my trusty old food processor with a little olive oil.|
|A few seconds pulsing was all it took to create a good texture.|
|I spooned the mixture into about 4 ice-trays and froze them overnight. The frozen blocks of coriander are now in a tub in the freezer. When I no longer have fresh leaf in the garden, I will harvest the tub for my favourite flavour.|
|I had some about 2 cups of leaf still left, so I also whipped up a jar of cilantro satay - organic coconut cream, organic peanut paste, garlic clove, chunk of ginger, juice of a lime and a long red chilli (missing from the photo). I have been using this with tofu and to dress salad - yum!|
I also harvest and eat coriander flowers too, but at this point of it's cycle, the leaves have really thinned out. All the plant's energy is going into the flowers and seed production. I leave the plants at this point - possibly staking them so they don't fall over everything else - and wait for the delightfully delicious coriander seeds to form. When they brown off, I go and collect them and use them as a spice. Of course I toss some about the garden for them to come up when they are ready, and I keep some to sow later too.
Health benefits of eating cilantro regularly
Cilantro/coriander is a super healthy herb to eat regularly. Here are 10 benefits of eating cilantro:
- Good source of dietary fibre, iron, magnesium; rich source of flavonoids and phytonutrients. Excellent antioxidant.
- Good for digestion: Helps to prevent flatulence, settles queasy stomachs and soothes nausea. Helps the digestive tract to produce digestive enzymes, as well as more digestive juices.
- Chelation agent - removes toxicity; heavy metals from the body
- Helps the liver. Lowers the LDL (‘bad cholesterol’) and supports the HDL (‘good cholesterol’)
- Anti-bacterial properties - helps to relieve diarrhoea if caused by fungal or microbial infections.
- Helps regulate blood sugar.
- Contains immune-boosting properties
- Chewing raw cilantro leaves helps to sooth bronchitis and asthma
- Stimulates the endocrine glands.
Labels: food, gardening, herbs, recipes, simple living