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Coriander

(Coriandrum Sativum)



Description:

 

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), is an annual plant of the parsley family, native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southern Europe. Its name is derived from the Greek word ‘Korios’, meaning bedbug, because of the unpleasant, bug-like odor of the unripened fruit. Its presence dates back as far as 5,000 BC, and there is evidence of its use by the ancient Egyptians. In the Bible, Exodus, chapter 16, verse 31, it says "And the house of Israel called the name there of Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey".

 

Coriander is valued both for its dry fruit (called coriander seed) and for its fresh green leaves, called cilantro in North America. The herb is today produced in countries of Eastern Europe, Middle East, North Africa, India, Canada and Mexico mainly for the production of coriander seed. Two main varieties exist according to the size of the fruit; variety vulgare or macrocarpum has a fruit diameter of 3-5 mm while var. oriental or microcarpum has fruit with diameter of 1.5-3 mm. The macrocarpum var. is usually grown for its fresh leaves, its fruit which contains a low oil content is mostly used for grinding and blending purposes. The microcarpum var. contains a high volatile oil content of around 0.4-1.8% and is therefore highly valued for extracting its essential oil.

 

In Cyprus the macrocarpum variety is grown, predominantly for the fresh market and is widely used as a major ingredient in local fresh salads. The seed has a whitish color and is mostly used for grinding purposes.

 

 

 

Uses:

 

Fresh leaves - Coriander is commonly used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, South Asian, Latin American, Chinese, African and Southeast Asian cuisine. The leaves have a very different taste from the seeds, similar to parsley but "juicier" and with citrus-like overtones. The fresh leaves are an essential ingredient in many Vietnamese foods, Asian chutneys and Mexican salsas and guacamole. Chopped coriander leaves are also used as a garnish on cooked dishes such as curries, but should never be overcooked as heat destroys their delicate flavor quickly. The Cyrus experience suggests that chopped coriander leaves are an excellent ingredient in fresh salads along with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Fresh coriander is best stored in the refrigerator in airtight bags but does not keep for long as the leaves dry out within a few days losing much of their aroma.  

 

Dried coriander seed - The dry fruit are known as coriander seeds or simply as coriander. They have a lemony citrus flavor when crushed, due to the presence of the terpenes linalool and pinene. It is also described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavored. The commonest use of coriander seed is in curry powder as a key ingredient, and as an aromatic constituent of smoked meats and sausages. Coriander is a characteristic of Arab and Indian cookery but it is also used in certain Belgian-style beers and several aromatic dishes. In the Cypriot gastronomy, coriander seed has an undisputable use as a garnish over green, partly crushed olives (called ‘tsakkistes’).

 

Store coriander seed in a tightly sealed container away from sunlight and heat (best kept refrigerated). For maximum flavour use within 6 months and keep for no more than 1 year. It can be roasted or heated on a dry pan briefly to enhance the aroma before grinding it in an electric grinder

 

 

 

Medicinal Value:

 

Researchers have found that coriander can assist with clearing the body of lead, aluminium and mercury {see: Omura and Beckman 1995. Role of mercury in resistant infections & effective treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis and Herpes family viral infections by removing localized mercury deposits with Chinese parsley and delivering effective antibiotics using various drug uptake enhancement methods. Journal of Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Research, Volume 20, Issue 3-4 , August - December 1995, Pages 195-229}

 

Fresh leaves have been used as a folk medicine for the relief of anxiety and insomnia in Iranian folk medicine. Experiments in mice support its use as an anxiolytic. Coriander essential oil has been demonstrated to exhibit antibacterial action against E. Coli. Not extensive research seems to exist in identifying the unique medicinal values of this herb.

 

 

 

Production and Packaging:

 

Fresh coriander: In Cyprus, the seeding for the fresh produce harvest begins early in autumn through to March and the main commercial harvest period runs from November to early May. For seed it is sown in spring and the harvesting season begins early in July. Fresh coriander is usually harvested in bunches of 180-220 grms washed and pre-cooled before packing. Produce is packed either loose or in liner bags in carton boxes unless demanded otherwise by the customer and shipped to destination markets normally within 24hrs from harvest.

 

Coriander seed: Our company procures coriander seed of the microcarpum variety from Bulgaria and Romania in pp bags of  25 kgs (both whole seed and split). New crop normally starts early in July and supplies run, depending upon availability, throughout the year. Please contact us for an up-to-date price quotation and product availability.

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