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.
Coriander is the seed of Coriandrum sativum, a plant in the parsley family. The seed is globular and almost round, brown to yellow red, and 1/5 inch in diameter with alternating straight and wavy ridges.
Coriander comes from Morocco and Romania.
Traditional Ethnic Uses
Coriander is used in Indian curries, gin, American cigarettes, and sausages.
Taste and Aroma
Coriander has a mild, distinctive taste similar to a blend of lemon and sage.
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History/Region of Origin
Coriander is probably one of the first spices used by mankind, having been known as early as 5000 BC. Sanskrit writings dating from about 1500 BC also spoke of it. In the Old Testament "manna" is described as "white like Coriander Seed." The Romans spread it throughout Europe and it was one of the first spices to arrive in America.
A Few Ideas to Get You Started
Coriander is not interchangeable with cilantro, although they are from the same plant. Ground Coriander seed is traditional in desserts and sweet pastries as well as in curries, meat, and seafood dishes with South American, Indian, Mediterranean, and African origins. Add it to stews and marinades for a Mediterranean flavor.
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