Friday, February 25, 2011

Weekly spice - Coriander

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to southern Europe and North Africa to southwestern Asia. It is a soft, hairless plant growing to 50 centimeters (20 in) tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers are borne in small umbels, white or very pale pink, asymmetrical, with the petals pointing away from the center of the umbel longer (5–6 mm) than those pointing towards it (only 1–3 mm long). The fruit is a globular dry schizocarp 3–5 mm diameter.

Coriander leaves

All parts of the plant are used as spice: leaves, roots and seeds. How strong the smell of Coriander is, depends on essential oil that plant contains (~2%). It is one of the main essential oil plants. Ripe fruits are used to make oil of original taste and smell, which contains vitamins A and C. This oil is used to make odor used in perfume and cosmetics. Fat oil acquired when separating essential oils used in textile, polygraphy and soaps. Coriander is used to aromatize bread, marinates, sauces, sausages, cheeses, liqueurs and beers. Seeds are often used in meat and game (wild animal meat) stews.

Coriander seeds (grinded)

Leaves have nice, spicy smell and are mostly used fresh. They are a perfect addition to soups and stews. A lot of Georgian national dishes use Coriander leaves. One of the best and tastiest dishes is Kharcho soup (I’ll post recipe next week, be sure to check it out!).

 Coriander fruits

Coriander fruits are used also in medicine. It helps with indigestion, expectorant, hemoroids and accelerates healing of wounds. The broth of coriander fruits must be used 3 times a day, few big table spoons each time.

In conclusion Coriander is very widely used plant. It adds great taste qualities and benefits your health. Next week spice – rosemary!

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