August 26, 2011

Growing Cilantro

Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs. Maybe that is because my favorite food to cook is Mexican food. I add cilantro to just about everything, including my margaritas!

Growing cilantro can be difficult because it goes to seed so quickly, especially when it's warm. The best way to have continuous cilantro is to sow your seeds throughout the summer in 3 week increments.

Some facts about cilantro:
  • More than a few consecutive days of temperatures above 75 degrees will cause your cilantro to bolt. 
  • You can try and pinch off flowers, and harvest frequently to get a few more weeks out of your cilantro. Ultimately just give in and let it bolt and go to seed.
  • Collect the seeds for cooking, they are called coriander. They have a citrus/sage like flavor that goes great with chicken and fish. And supposedly it's an aphrodisiac! You can also replant the seeds and grow more cilantro. 
  • Cilantro does well with full sun in the morning and afternoon shade in the summer. 
  • Fall is a perfect time to grow cilantro due to the sunny days and cooler evenings. 
  • If you grow cilantro in a pot, make sure your pot is at least 12 inches deep to accommodate its deep roots. 
  • To harvest, wait until the plant is 6 inches tall and collect the outside leaves. Never take more than half of the plants leaves. Harvest with scissors to avoid tugging on the plant.  
  • Do not plan on transplanting your cilantro. It has very sensitive roots that if disturbed will damage your plant. 
  • Water your cilantro enough to keep it moist. It's important to water slowly and gently so you do not disrupt the roots. 
  • You can grow cilantro indoors! Place in a south facing window. 
See the fern-like leaves? That is what will bolt and create the flower. 

Now about that margarita....
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