Green Coriander
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Coriander is a Spice made from the seeds/fruit of the Coriander Plant, which is also called the “Cilantro” plant.

Before we move on, we should discuss if Cilantro is the same thing as Coriander?  The answer is 97% “Yes!” The two come from one and the same plant but Coriander, the Spice, is made from the ground seeds /fruits of the coriander plant and the leafy Herb Cilantro is the leaves (and some stem) of growing plant itself. Going forward, Smart Kitchen™ will refer to the fresh greens as Cilantro and the ground seeds as Coriander. Just be aware that they may do it differently in another country or culture.

If you want to know more about Cilantro, navigate over to that Smart Kitchen™ Resource Page by following the link. What we see at the store as the spice Coriander are actually the dried, brown seeds of the plant or a powder made from said seeds. If you want to learn about the Brown Coriander Seeds, follow the link to that resource page. If you are interested in the ground Coriander Powder made from the dried seeds navigate over to our Ground Coriander Resource Page. The rest of this resource focuses on fresh green Coriander seeds, that you rarely see at retail, and typically have to grow yourself.

The term Green Coriander Seeds refers to the fresh, green seeds picked from the Coriander plant. They look almost like the “Mini-Me” version of Capers.

The Coriander plant was disseminated thousands of years ago from the Middle East to China, India and Southeast Asia. In fact, Coriander may have been the first spice used by man. It is certainly one of our oldest known Spices. There is a record of it being harvested from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and Coriander is talked about in the Bible. The Ancient Egyptians used Coriander in wine to increase the effects of intoxication and act as an aphrodisiac. They even placed Coriander Seeds, used for a love potion in “The 1001 Arabian Nights,” in Egyptian tombs, including King Tut’s.

Both the ancient Greeks and Romans used it extensively. In fact, the name Coriander is derived from the Greek word koris, which means bug.  The plant was given the name either because it smelled like bed bugs (which goes to prove that its detractors have been around a long time), or because its dried seeds look a bit like small beetles. The Romans used it as both food and for medicine and brought it with them when they invaded Britain. One novel use that they had was combining Coriander with Vinegar and using the mixture as a meat preservative. In the Middle Ages Coriander was added to love potions.

Later, with the European explorers, the plant made its way to South America, where it began to be used in place of the indigenous South American plant Culantro.

Though Coriander was one of the first Herbs imported and cultivated in the US in Colonial times, it was not widely known or generally used here until the latter part of the 20th century. 

Season

In most of North America, Coriander tends to grow starting in early spring (weather permitting) through late fall.

The green seeds can be harvested about 2-3 weeks after the plant has flowered.

Availability

Green Coriander Seeds are not typically available at retail. They are typically harvested from a home garden.

Cultivation

Coriander is a fast growing annual Herb. It grows from seed to plant in about 40 to 60 days. Successive plantings, starting in early spring (weather permitting) through late fall provide North American markets with an abundance of fresh Coriander throughout most of the year.

Coriander can be easily grown from seed.  It is an annual plant that grows to about two feet tall.  It will grow anywhere in the world that has a growing season of 100 days or more and matures in approximately 40 to 45 days. 

True to its appearance, it is a little fragile and susceptible to frost, so wait a few weeks after the last frost before planting.  It likes full sun.   The seeds can be harvested two or three weeks after the plant sprouts its small, pretty, umbrella-shaped clusters of pink and white flowers. The blooms are nectar-and-pollen rich which attract tons of pollinators, especially honey bees and Syrphid flies. As the flowers start to fade, you will see small, round, Green Coriander Seeds appear. They are the fresh seeds and hard to find at market, where the dried Brown Coriander Seeds predominate. Harvest them by cutting off the seed heads along with a few inches of the stalk. Pick the green seeds from the stalks.

Production

Green Coriander is grown throughout the world.

Varieties

There are no major varieties of Coriander plants, though breeders have developed specialty seeds to emphasize certain characteristics.  For example, specialty seeds have been developed to produce plants that bolt more slowly, making them better adapted to growing in hot climates.

Purchasing

We have not seen Green Coriander Seeds at retail, even at good Farmer’s Markets. Typically, they are home grown.

Storage

If you are lucky enough to find Green Coriander Seeds, or enterprising enough to grow, them, treat them more like the fresh green product that they are. Fresh Green Coriander Seeds will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks if stored in a sealed glass container. They freeze well too.

Culinary Uses

Green Coriander can be used much the same way one would use Capers, if Capers had a mellow, subtle, lemony, nutty flavor and a mild, sweet citrusy aroma.

Green Coriander Seeds, if you can find them, have a sharper and more pronounced flavor and a softer bite than Brown Coriander Seeds. If you happen to find any Green Coriander Seeds, they would do well working with other ingredients (like Cumin) or used as a Garnish or in a Salad or Salad Dressing.  

Coriander is also used in baking to flavor sweeter breads and some confections. Borodinsky Bread, a Russian bread, uses Coriander Seeds for flavoring.

Vietnamese Cuisine uses Coriander in dishes such as Dhania, Chutney, Pho, and more.

Pairings

Allow 1-2 t of Green Coriander per person.

Substitutes

Coriander pairs well with Beans, Lentils, Rice, and Vegetables and works especially well with Cumin

Nutritional Value USDA
CORIANDER SEED
Amount Per 100g
Calories 298
%Daily Value*
 
26%
Total Fat 17g
0%
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
0%
Cholesterol 0mg
1%
Sodium 35mg
26%
Potassium 1267mg
18%
Total Carbohydrate 54g
164%
Dietary Fiber 41g
Sugars 0g
Protein 12g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Nutrition

Because Coriander has been used by humans for so long, it has a reputation for being useful for fixing just about everything under the sun in folk medicine, Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, etc.

Broadly the health claims tend to fall into the following categories: Digestion (nausea, upset stomach, bad breath, loss of appetite, gripe, diarrhea, gas), Inflammation (hemorrhoids, toothaches, joint pain, aches), Infections (Salmonella, infections, ), Hypertension, Hyperglycemia, Mood Disorders (depression, anxiety, insomnia), Anti-Allergic (Hay Fever, other allergic reactions), Eye Care and Menstruation.

Smart Kitchen is a cooking site and vetting many of the medical claims go beyond the scope of our mission. If you are interested in the claims, we found the scientific survey of the current literature “Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.): A Potential Source of High-Value Components for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals- A Review” dense but helpful.

Medicinal Coriander is typically used in folk medicine as either a topical oil or a hot tea. Different parts of the Coriander plant (Cilantro plant) have different component parts and different benefits. The exciting bioactive ingredients are not (generally) present in significant quantities in a Pinch of Coriander or a sprig of Cilantro though a pinch or sprig can’t hurt.

Coriander Oil is also used in cosmetics and soaps.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes