Almost all of you have used coriander leaves while cooking in your kitchen and making salads. However, not all of you may have realized that cilantro is just a synonym used for these herb leaves, which take their roots in Africa, Asia, and Southern Europe.
But wait for a second! There is a difference between the two. The seeds borne from the mature plant are known as coriander, while their leaves are called cilantro. The cilantro leaves are officially the ones bearing the flavor and the richness that is needed.
Cilantro microgreens are the process of fresh leaves produced in a small amount of time. In this blog, you will be reading through everything that you need to know about cilantro microgreens. Starting from what truly cilantro microgreens are, their benefits and nutrition value to growing cilantro microgreens.
So, let’s get started!
What Are Cilantro Microgreens?
Cilantro microgreens are a popular herb across the world, and they resemble flat-leaf parsley. However, when you sniff them for the very first time, you’ll virtually take a tour of the Mediterranean, Mexico, Asia, and India. These leaves carry a fresh essence of their flavor, even without the addition of other seasonings.
The cilantro microgreens are useful from guacamole and salsa to other kinds of dishes like curry, noodle dishes, and the Argentina special chimichurri sauces. These herb leaves not only add to the flavor of the dishes, but they have impressive health benefits as well.
One of the several reasons why cilantro microgreens are so popular is their versatile nature. Green and leafy as they are, cilantro microgreens add a citrusy flavor to the food they’re added to. Once these microgreens flowers, they produce cilantro microgreens seeds. That’s how the flavor of the leaves then grows intense.
Moreover, besides cilantro, coriander seeds also have health benefits. Citrusy in flavor like that of the cilantro microgreens, coriander has a nutty kind of flavor. It makes it the perfect complement for pickling, sausages, bread, and more.
Cilantro Health Benefits
If cilantro microgreens aren’t in your shopping cart, then you’re definitely missing out on a great ingredient to your foods. Also, these leaves in your shopping cart will definitely prove beneficial for your health in several ways.
Alongside many other culinary herb leaves, cilantro has also contributed to medical purposes since time immemorial. Modern research has revealed some health benefits of these plants.
Go on reading below to acquaint yourself with some of such benefits that cilantro as a microgreen has in store for you.
1. Brain Health
No doubt, there is still scope for further research in this regard. However, it would help if you acknowledged that several studies have revealed that cilantro can reduce cognitive health problems like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
One such study showed that cilantro extract could reduce seizure attacks and prevent nerve-cell damages in rats. Another study revealed that fresh cilantro leaves in the diets of the laboratory mice could improve their memory.
2. Reduced Anxiety
Animal trials have revealed significant results of healthy effects borne by eating cilantro leaves. One such benefit is cilantro leaves helo reduce anxiety symptoms in am=nimals. However, the same study is yet to be conducted on human beings.
3. Blood Sugar Management
Cilantro is popular for its benefit of blood sugar management. They can lower blood sugar levels by a great amount, so much that low blood sugar patients should be careful with the amounts of micro cilantro that they consume.
Animal testing drew results that showed that coriander seeds eaten by them decreased blood sugar levels by stimulating the growth of an enzyme. The enzyme removed the sugar from the blood.
Cilantro extract reduced blood sugar levels even in obese rats and rats with high blood sugar. The prevalent effects were similar to that of the blood sugar medication glibenclamide.
4. Prevent Foodborne Illnesses
The microgreens cilantro consists of dodecenal, which is an antimicrobial compound. The compound protects your body from infections and illnesses due to the consumption of tainted food. The dodecenal compound helps fight Salmonella, which is responsible for life-threatening food poisoning.
Several other compounds in cilantro are effective in fighting bacteria, even those foodborne diseases and hospital-acquired infections.
Cilantro Nutrition Facts
One can reap the benefits of cilantro from its rich supply of phytonutrients, flavonoids, phenolic compounds. Cilantro is low in calories and contains a significant value of Vitamin K and Vitamin A per serving.
Four grams of this microgreen, which makes about the quarter of a cup of the herb, contains about 1 calorie, 0.1g carbs, 0.1g protein, 0.1g fiber, 12.4micrograms Vitamin K, 270 international units of Vitamin A, 1.1mg VItamin C, 0.1mg Vitamin E, 2.5micrograms folate, and 20.8mg potassium.
Growing Cilantro Microgreens
Growing cilantro microgreens at home are the easiest way to start planting these cilantro seeds for a fruitful benefit. However, they’re not the same as traditional gardening.
Gardening takes up some equipment space as well. You need minimal space to grow cilantro microgreens, and they grow pretty quick! This indicates that you can have an evergreen stock of this herb.
It is effortless to grow cilantro microgreens at home, plus it will add to the essence of a zesty flavor. You’ll cut down your expenses on getting this microgreen from the market and add them to the abundant nutrients in your food.
However, there is a difference in growing cilantro microgreens and cilantro. The difference lies in the harvest time. When cilantro sprouts from its seed, it blooms open into two grass-looking cotyledons leaves. The leaves taste similar to cilantro but with lesser zest to their flavor.
The cotyledons leaves grow to their first, feathery, mature leaves. These cilantro microgreens consist of real cilantro flavors. Let’s learn in-depth the different measures in growing cilantro microgreens.
You may or may not soak cilantro seeds. Either way, the seeds have shown good sprouting. However, soaking helps accelerate the germination process, although that doesn’t speed up the seeds’ growth.
Soaking the seeds would require a bowl of clean water with the seeds soaked deep in it for 12-24 hours, and you must not exceed this time frame. Once the seeds are done soaking for the assigned period, you can directly plant them.
Crushing the seed hull rather than soaking it is also helpful. For crushing the seed hull, secure it in a plastic bag and crush it with a rolling pin in a gentle manner placing the plastic bag on a cutting board. The effect would be the same as soaking.
Whether to soak the cilantro seeds or to crush the seed hulls instead, the choice lies upon you.
To grow cilantro microgreens, you need to plant those seeds. But even before that, you need to prepare the tray to plant the cilantro micro greens’ seeds. Fill the tray with damp soil up to the brim and smooth it out evenly. The next step would be to spread out the seeds on the entire surface.
Ensure that the seeds are spread close to each other but not too tightly close to each other and definitely not overlapping. These seeds need ample spacing as, over time, the plant will be developing more and more leaves. You need not cover the seeds with soil.
Mist the surface of the soil and the seeds with water and cover the tray. The cover is to prevent light from reaching the seeds. This would help the seeds in their germination process. Germination requires a cooler temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the same.
Make sure to check on them every few days and mist them with water as required. Although not uniformly, the seeds will germinate within 2-6 days.
Once the cilantro seeds germinate and sprout out of the cover of the tray, they are now ready to be planted. Start by removing the cover off of the tray and use grow light. You’ll be noticing that the seeds have sprouted, and the lack of light has made the leaves white which shall turn green soon.
Keep the soil top dry to prevent the development of mold. You can go for bottom watering instead. Take a perfect size tray and fill it with water. Place the tray on top of the water-filled dish. You’ll see that the soil mix soaks up the water, and the sprouts are untouched, dry, and mold-free.
Next, make sure to test the weight of the tray every day to determine if the soil needs more water. With their growth in size, some may trigger the seed hulls upwards with cotyledons and leaves. You can brush your palm over the top to remove them.
These cilantro microgreens shall take a good 10-20 days to prepare for harvest. The cotyledon leaves appear green and will be open around harvest time. More significantly, the first true leaves will grow. The harvest period brings the scope of flavor and nutrition for cilantro microgreens.
You’ll notice the growth of greens, starting from the root to the leaf by an inch or so. It would help if you stopped watering the microgreens 12 hours before their harvest. This helps in preventing excessive moisture and makes the microgreens ready for storage.
Take a pair of scissors and chop off the stems above the soil. Cilantro microgreens are flexible to harvest, so you can go accordingly for its harvest and not necessarily wind it up all in one day.
Home-grown produce always tastes good. The same is the case for cilantro microgreens! Pluck some leaves and rinse them well in cold water. You can eat them raw, add them to salads, eggs, or maybe even the Mexican dish you go drooling over?
If you plan to use them later, store the microgreens as dry as possible. Press the leaves between two paper towels and put them into an air-tight container. This way, you can store the cilantro microgreens for up to 5-10 days in the refrigerator.
Uses Of Cilantro Microgreens
Cilantro is often used in Latin and Indian Cuisines. You can rinse the leaves and pat them dry before chopping them and then add to the dishes you would like to add the Cilantro flavor. The good thing about them is their versatility. You can cook them in or use them to garnish complex flavors.
Cilantro is also frozen and used in the long run. Freezing the cilantro retains added flavor of the microgreens. However, dried cilantro leaves are more convenient if you want to cook them with your food.
As for the coriander seeds, dry roasting releases more flavors of the seeds into the food. After you dry roast them on a hot pan for about a few minutes, grind them, and add them to your dish.
There are many other ways to use the cilantro microgreen to utilize its flavors and health and nutrition value. You can chop the leaves and add them to your sour cream. You can also add them to soups and stews to increase their flavors. To utilize their nutrition benefit, you can stir some of these greens into low-fat plain yogurt.
Cilantro microgreen is popularly known as garnish or seasoning added to a salad to spice up the dressing. It is great with vinaigrettes and citrus-flavored dressings. Stir-frying cilantro leaves release more flavors too.
Not all of you are aware, but cilantro stirred in cream cheese and added to bagels is a heaven-sent treat. Next time, add it to your menu for brunch.
Pasta with cilantro microgreen toppings along with other seasonings is ubiquitous among Mexican food lovers. True pasta lovers would never leave out the flavors of cilantro. If you haven’t tried this yet, you won’t get enough of it once you do.
A pro cooking tip here that involves cilantro! Cut off a stem from the cilantro plant and immerse it in a bottle of your edible oil. After a few hours, the flavors of cilantro release into the soil. You can then add that oil to meat dishes, salads, or even pasta and enjoy the microgreen flavor.
With excellent health and nutrition value per serve, cilantro microgreens are popular for their versatility. Being added to almost any kind of food, these microgreens will be easily accessible if grown at home.
Easy to grow at home with minimal care measures, the microgreens add to the overall essence and flavor of food that you add them to. Next time you visit the market, make sure to get cilantro seeds and start growing them at home!
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.