Coriander, or ‘Chinese parsley’, originates from the Middle East and was later grown in the Eastern Mediterranean, East Asia, North America and South America. Its scientific name is Coriandrum Sativum.
Coriander seeds were used as far back as 6,000 BC. The word ‘coriander’ did not appear until ancient Roman, Greek and Egyptian times. In particular, coriander is mentioned in a passage of the Bible. The plant spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages.
Coriander grows best in light, sandy and chalky soils. It should be planted in the sun or partial shade and can measure from 25 to 60cm in height. Coriander blooms from July to August and is harvested in either August or September.
Coriander seeds are harvested when they turn light brown in colour. When ripe and dried, coriander seeds are spherical to elliptical in shape and measure from 2 to 6mm in diameter.
Tip: The plant grows best in close proximity to dill or chervil plants.
Coriander leaves are often used in Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. The part of coriander most commonly used in cooking is the leaf.
Many recipes use coriander. It is used to season cold meats, marinades and stews. It gives Greek-style vegetables their unique flavour. It can also flavour meatballs, salads and cauliflower recipes.