Cilantro and Coriander seeds

Like other spices coriander is available throughout the year providing a fragrant flavor that is reminiscent of both citrus peel and sage.

The fruit of the coriander plant contains two seeds which, when dried, are the portions used as the dried spice. When ripe, the seeds are yellowish-brown in color with longitudinal ridges. Coriander seeds are available whole or in ground powder form.

Nutritional Profile

Coriander seeds contain an unusual array of phytonutrients. They are a very good source of dietary fiber and a good source of copper, manganese, iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Health Benefits

Coriander seeds have a health-supporting reputation that is high on the list of the healing spices. In parts of Europe, coriander has traditionally been referred to as an “anti-diabetic” plant. In parts of India, it has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory properties. Coriander (also called cilantro) contains an antibacterial compound that may prove to be a safe, natural means of fighting Salmonella. Recent research studies (though still on animals) have confirmed that Coriander also Control Blood Sugar, Cholesterol and Free Radical Production.

How to Select and Store

Fresh coriander (or cilantro) leaves should look vibrantly fresh and be deep green in color. They should be firm, crisp and free from yellow or brown spots. Whenever possible, buy whole coriander seeds instead of coriander powder since the latter loses its flavor more quickly, and coriander seeds can be easily ground with a mortar and pestle.

Related: Coriander – The Amazing Health Herb

Since it is highly perishable, fresh coriander should always be stored in the refrigerator. If possible, it should stored with its roots still attached by placing the roots in a glass of water and covering the leaves with a loosely fitting plastic bag. If the roots have been removed, wrap the coriander leaves in a damp cloth or paper towel and place them in a plastic bag. Whole coriander will last up to one week, while coriander leaves will last about three days.

Cilantro may also be frozen, either whole or chopped, in airtight containers, yet should not be thawed before use since it will lose much of its crisp texture. Alternatively, you can place it in ice cube trays covered with either water or stock that can be added when preparing soups or stews.


The use of coriander can be traced back to 5,000 BC, making it one of the world’s oldest spices. It is native to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions and has been known in Asian countries for thousands of years. Coriander was cultivated in ancient Egypt and given mention in the Old Testament. It was used as a spice in both Greek and Roman cultures, the latter using it to preserve meats and flavor breads.

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Nutrition Chart

Cilantro, leaf, fresh | 0.50 cup | 8.00 g | Calories: 2

vitamin K24.80 mcg28
vitamin C2.16 mg3
vitamin A26.99 mcg 3
Vitamin B10.01 mg1
Vitamin B20.01 mg1
Vitamin B30.09 mg1
Vitamin B60.01 mg1
Vitamin E0.20 mg1
Calcium5.36 mg1
Copper0.02 mg2
Iron0.14 mg1
Magnesium2.08 mg1
Manganese0.03 mg2
Phosphorus3.84 mg1
Potassium41.68 mg 1
Selenium0.07 mcg0
Sodium3.68 mg0
Zinc0.04 mg0
Protein0.17 g0
Carbohydrates0.29 g0
Fiber0.22 g 1

Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

Tips for Preparing and Cooking

Tips for Preparing Coriander

Fresh coriander (cilantro) should be washed right before using since it is highly fragile. The best way to clean coriander is just like you would spinach by placing it in a bowl of cold water and swishing it around with your hands. This will allow any sand or dirt to dislodge. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill it with clean water, and repeat this process until there is no dirt remaining in the water.

Related: Summer Thai Salad

Coriander seeds can be easily ground with a mortar and pestle. You may wish to first soak them in cold water for ten minutes and then drain them, as this process will revive their fragrant aroma.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking With Coriander read: Recipes.


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