In Tandem with Cilantro
As far as I know, (and I am counting on you out there to set me straight), there are only four plants that give us two very different spices from each plant. Eventually we will cover them all, but let’s start with coriander. Coriander is the seed of a plant that is native to the Mediterranean and the Orient. If you were to plant the seed, rather than eat it, you would grow cilantro, which is used in Mexican and Asian cuisines.
Cilantro grows well here, but prefers a nice shady spot to direct sunlight. It exhibits a short life cycle locally. If you want the plants to grow all season then you will need to reseed about every other month.
Historically speaking coriander goes back a very long way. Mention of coriander seeds was found in early Sanskrit writings and the seeds themselves have been discovered in Egyptian tombs dating to 960 BC. Coriander seeds were found in Tutankhamen’s tomb.
Coriander seeds are among the most venerable of all spices. Their flavor is an exquisite blend of white pepper, cardamom, and cloves with a hint of orange. Coriander is related to the parsley family. It is known for both its seeds (actually the dried, ripe fruit of the plant) and for its dark green, lacy leaves. The flavors of the seeds and leaves bear absolutely no resemblance to each other.
If you are out of coriander seeds you may substitute cardamom.