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Cilantro

Cilantro is an essential herb in Latin American cuisine. The leaves are also found in other ethnic recipes, and the seeds, coriander, are found in Indian and Chinese dishes. A small percentage of people taste a soap flavor when eating cilantro.

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by Heidi StrawnFebruary 4, 2011
PHOTO: Vaivirga/iStock/Thinkstock

Size: Foliage is 6 to 12 inches in height; flowers reach up to 24 inches in height.

Sunlight requirements: Full sun (A minimum of six hours of direct sunlight is ideal, though it will tolerate partial shade in summer.)

Water requirements: About 1 inch of water per week

Soil requirements: Average, well-drained garden soil, high in organic matter

When to plant: Cilantro is a cool-season crop, and it will bolt (or go to flower) as the weather warms. Sow seeds directly in the garden in early spring for an early summer harvest. Make a second sowing in late fall for an early harvest the following spring. If you allow your cilantro to flower, the resulting seeds (coriander) are another important culinary herb.

Where to plant: Garden; containers

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When to harvest: Harvest leaves before the flowers emerge, when their flavor changes. Frequent light to moderate harvests will result in more new growth and subsequent harvests.

Produce storage: Store unwashed in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to 14 days.

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