Cilantro~~the NEW green.

Cilantro in the sky

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a declaration.

Time to write a blog about an oft-maligned creature.

Time to write a blog heralding the delights of–are you ready?–yes, you must be ready–CILANTRO!

Cilantro in a strainer

Let’s get honest.  Let’s not be shy.  How many of you LOVE cilantro?  How many of you HATE cilantro?  How many of you are wishy-washy about this inconspicuous bit of greenery?  How many of you don’t know?  Don’t care?

OK, now that you’ve raised your hands with your appropriate response, I am going to wax poetically about this green.  So either trot on over to another blog, or stay for dinner.  It’s cilantro time!

Stems, throwaways

The first time I tasted cilantro–down in Florida, at an Iguana Mia’s restaurant near Fort Myers Beach–I detested it.  AYYYYY!!!!  Who put the soap in the burritos?  Who put the awful taste in the taco?  Who dreamed up this green awful creation?  (God surely didn’t make it.  No one would make anything that tasted this horrible.)

So what made me taste it again?  Who knows?  Perhaps I didn’t want cilantro to get the best of these taste buds.  Perhaps it was all-out war.  (I’ll learn to like you, darn it!)  Who knows?  But I tried it again.

Still soapy.  But almost an intriguing soapy.

Artistic cilantro

A friend shared a statistic about that time.  She said–They say you either have a cilantro gene or you don’t.  If you don’t have the cilantro gene, cilantro will taste like soap and you will hate it.  If you have the cilantro gene, you will love it.

Of course, I rarely believe either personality tests or studies which definitively point toward heredity.

I ate cilantro again.  Ick!  Still soap-like.

Cilantro--kissed by the sun.

Again.  About the fourth time, cilantro began to taste–ohmygoodness–isn’t this kind of, almost, sort of, good?  Again.  Mmmm, I’m beginning to like this stuff.  Again.  Ohmygosh, you could die for this stuff.  Again.  Did God ever invent anything so magnificent, so wonderful, so delectable?

Growing cilantro babies. Grow, babies, grow!

So now we’re in love with cilantro.  (And I don’t mean luke-warm in love.  I mean passionately in love!  We eat cilantro almost every single day.  On vegetables.  On fish.  On grains.  On anything that goes down the gullet. Except maybe cereal.  Or fruit.  These are mutually exclusive.  So far.)

We grow cilantro in our garden.  We’ve taken to labeling it in a sotto voice:  “The NEW green.”  Barry will say, “Is there cilantro in that?” and I’ll say–at least five times a week–“Yes, cilantro,” and I bat my eyes at him, “The NEW green.”

OK, OK, you’re wanting to weigh in with your opinion, aren’t you?  You are ready to tell us it A) tastes like soap or B) is the most wonderful creation on the planet.  If you tell me you sort-of like it, I might not believe you.  Cilantro is an either-or vegetable. 

(OK, OK, I might believe you if you’re wishy-washy.  But that only means you need to eat it more frequently until you, too, are mincing it on everything you eat–except for cereal and fruit–and proclaiming it “the NEW green.  Eat more.  And “lettuce” know if you change your mind.)

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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70 Responses to Cilantro~~the NEW green.

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    Thank God it doesn’t taste like Irish Spring!

    • Kathy says:

      A bit of Irish spring in your soup, my dear? Ayyyy! That is an unfriendly image. Thank goodness cilantro is much kinder than that.

  2. Carol says:

    It’s another form of parsley – one of those things you put in dishes if the recipe calls for. I could take it or leave it. But then again, I do not possess gourmet taste-buds and I am not a creative cook. Cooking is something I do because I must. Eating is something I do because I must, most of the time. Until one of the cravings hit, and then I eat to fulfill the craving. Which is another eating “because I must”, isn’t it.

    • Kathy says:

      You know, Carol, you just got me thinking about this craving for cilantro. Eating it because we must. Do you think some of us might be addicted to cilantro? I wonder if there is a support group? Hmmm…. You are lucky you do not crave it.

  3. Brenda Hardie says:

    🙂 Kathy I LOVE cilantro!! 🙂 Your pictures are such a lovely homage to this NEW green! And LOL at Elsa about the Irish Spring haha 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, thrilled to discover another cilantro lover. (Actually, I suspect that Cilantro wrote this post. I had no attention of doing it, but it started whispering from the frig, demanding its day in the spotlight.)

  4. Erin Maclean says:

    Love, love, love it. It’s a year round staple in this house. Even the rabbits love it! Glad you have come over to the dark side.

    • Kathy says:

      Erin, my husband, Barry is still laughing about your comment about coming around to the dark side. You are funny! You feed it to your rabbits, you say? Is there enough for everyone else in your family? Are the rabbits addicted to it, too?

  5. As we speak, we are on the last break of the day while I’m teaching Reiki Level 2 for certification. I’m talking about the color GREEN and it’s association with healing (and Arch Angel Raphael – Heaven’s Physician — body, mind, and spirit). What fantastic timing!

  6. Yes, I love it too! And I must have the cilantro gene because it was love at first taste!

  7. Dawn says:

    Your pictures of this delicious beauty are stunning. I’ll take any that goes begging… 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, if you were any closer, you would have a bag of cilantro right now. Unfortunately, I can’t drive across the country to deliver!

  8. jeffstroud says:

    Kathy,

    I am at the Love stage I buy it all the time and use it as much as I can. Yes years ago it tasted like soap, at least as a dry herb it did… I has only been in the past few years that Cilantro has become a regular visitor in my meals!!! Love the stuff.
    Love the Artistic Cilantro shot! well done!

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, don’t you love it when you take a picture and it turns out totally unexpected and then you can call it “art”? I am glad you are a fellow-lover-of-cilantro. We should have had some together when we lunched in NYC!

  9. Sybil says:

    I’m one of those “don’t know” people.

    But I do recall my surprise at discovering that “Thrills” gum tasted like soap. I spat it out and never had another piece.

    I’m a bit scared about cilantro now … 😉

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, I’ve never heard of “Thrills” gum. Interesting! My mother still will not eat cilantro because she thinks it tastes like soap. I am luring her toward the Forbidden Fruit (I mean vegetable.) I know she will change her mind with enough prodding. Perhaps you might think the same way as she does?

  10. Dawn says:

    I don’t think I am even sure what it is. Is it the same as flat leaf parsley? Don’t tell anyone I’m this confused about green things.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh no. Oh no. Oh no, no, no. Not to be confused with flat-leaf parsely at all! Flat leaf parsley is a boring greenery. (Apologies to parsley.) This might look suspiciously like it, but it’s a World Apart. Try some. Try some six times. You shall see.

  11. Kiah says:

    and here I thought it was lettuce season..

    • Kathy says:

      Kiah, I am sorry to have talked your head off about harvesting lettuce and then wrote a blog about cilantro. Your confusion is understandable. The cilantro hijacked me and made me do it.

  12. Robin says:

    I put it in my breakfast cereal. I love it that much. Honestly, I do. In all fairness, I should mention I’m not the typical breakfast person. My breakfast cereal is often kitchari. Sometimes I like my kitchari mixture fruity and sweet so I make it with coconut. But sometimes I like it savory so I make it with cilantro.

    My taste buds have been having an affair with cilantro since a friend from Puerto Rico first introduced us to each other in the early 1980s. She made this stuff she called “green mush” (Recaíto) that she used in a variety of dishes. I wanted to move to Puerto Rico or wherever they cooked such heavenly dishes. I am grateful that my husband appreciate this green as much as you and I do. When I went from Latin dishes to Indian dishes, cilantro followed me. How wonderful it is. 🙂

    • Robin says:

      And meant to add that your ode to cilantro is beautiful. 😀

    • Kathy says:

      OK, Robin I just had to go googling to find out what the heck kitchari might be! Now I’m printing out a recipe. (Unless you have another favorite recipe?) Breakfast with cilantro! Ahhhh….this is like a dream come true. To think you’ve been having a love affair with this green since the 1980’s!! I’ll bet half of north America didn’t even know what it was back then. The Puerto Rican introduction sounds really neat. And thanks again for the kitchari idea.

  13. P.j. grath says:

    You haven’t tried cilantro with fruit? You don’t know what you’re missing, Kathy! Start with ruby red grapefruit. Peel and section it and get off all the membrane so you have only the ruby red fruit pieces. That’s your basis. Now add peeled and sliced cucumber. Yes, cucumber. Don’t argue—just do it! Next add whatever wonderful fruit you have on hand. Blueberries are great. Mango is awfully nice. Toss with chopped fresh cilantro and those hot pepper flakes some people like on pizza. The only must-have elements are the grapefruit, cucumber, cilantro and red pepper flakes; all the rest is up to your imagination and your refrigerator contents. You will love this fruit salad, you will want to make it all summer long, and it will be a little different every time but always delicious.

    • jeffstroud says:

      P. j.

      This fruit salad sound wonderful !!! I think I will try it, any thing to use up my Cilantro. !! I will make a batch and take some photographs to share with everyone!!! Yummy!

      • Deborah says:

        PJ, you have convinced me, I’m a believer.

        The Blackberries are beginning to ripen. I’ve copied this and will make some, as soon as I can get to St Louis where I can buy some fresh cilantro (they don’t have such exotics in the Missouri wilderness).

        No, Kathy, my garden is too minimalist this year to have even any greens – tomatoes and peppers only (bell & hot cherry). It’s a lot of work and we waste anything more.

        • Kathy says:

          Mmmm…blackberries! You are so far ahead of us, Deb. We haven’t even seen strawberries yet. Although, with this year’s rain, we may be lucky to get ’em. P.S. I am so surprised they have cilantro here in the northwoods wilderness. Isn’t that odd?

      • Kathy says:

        Be sure to let us know, Jeff! We don’t want to miss your pics…

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, I LOVE your suggestion! Both Barry and I have been salivating since you wrote this. I just hand-printed your instructions. Now, to purchase the ruby red grapefruit. Can’t wait to try it! Love it when our preconceived ideas can be completely dissolved. Thank you…

  14. janet says:

    I first ate it accidentally- thought I had bought flat leaf parsley- and was unpleasantly surprised. But never had the soap feel. Fast forward a couple of years and it started showing up in Mexican food. I loved the brightness it added to things. Now I love it with so many things. Even fruit, Kathy 🙂 Try it chopped finely with strawberries, papaya & watermelon and a squeeze of lime. Honestly, it’s super-yum!

    Thank you for honoring the New Green!

    • Kathy says:

      Strawberries, papaya, watermelon, lime…oh Janet. Another way to enjoy cilantro! Who would have thunk it? On fruit? You guys have taught me something!

  15. Brenda Hardie says:

    Wow…the fruit salads using cilantro sound very interesting! I copied down the ingredients and will be giving it a try for sure! Thanks P.J. and Janet! And thank you Kathy for getting us all hungry for cilantro!! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, I am eager to try the cilantro on fruit. (OK, not eager–almost a little nervous–but ready to be pleasantly surprised.) Grateful for these recipes, for sure!

  16. Colleen says:

    Oh yes, most definately a lover of this wonderful herb/green. And like Pamela, with most everything. We grow pots of it but are always using it faster than it can possibly grow!!

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, that’s a good idea to grow it in pots. Our cilantro “problem” is that it all comes on at once in the garden. Then there’s cilantro coming out of our ears. I’ve tried freezing and drying it, but not with good results. The only option is to give it away to other cilantro-lovers…

  17. lynnekovan says:

    I’ve never heard of cilantro. But if it’s like parsley you can make pesto with it. Now there’s a way of getting a whole bunch down your gizzard in a single mouthful!

    • Kathy says:

      Lynne, I wonder if cilantro would make good pesto or not? Good question! It has such a strong taste…well, new frontiers to explore. Thanks for the suggestion.

  18. It MUST be an acquired taste! I remember trying it years ago, and thinking that I would never eat the stuff again! BUT – I also used to feel that way about coffee, and now I can’t live without it!! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      See, Holly, it’s crazy, isn’t it? One minute you don’t like a taste and the next minute you’re begging for it. Life…it’s the strangest.

  19. Karma says:

    I like cilantro, but I can’t seem to get my family to like it. I believe cilantro has its place however. For me, the perfect place for cilantro is homemade fresh salsa!

  20. Susan D says:

    Cilantro is one of my favorities … yes, yes, yes. Grew lots of it in CA and would eat it as I harvested. It represents freshness to me. Thank you for honoring this delightful green. Yum!

    • Kathy says:

      I wonder if our Chinese lunch will have cilantro in it tomorrow? Shall we ask the servers if they can sprinkle it on our hot and sour soup? See you soon, Chopstick! Love, Water Chestnut.

  21. Deborah says:

    I can not put too much cilantro in any food that I will serve my husband. His mom was SO EXCITED about the flavor, that the first time she used it, she really did overdo it. It tastes like soap to my husband. I will use it for food that I will personally consume. I like it but am not a fanatic about it.

    • Kathy says:

      Tell your husband to try it six times, Deb. He will only think it tastes like soap the first four times. OK, maybe you shouldn’t tell him this. I think it’s OK if people don’t like cilantro. Then there’s more for those of us that do! (I guess, if my family didn’t like cilantro, I would put it in a special bowl in the middle of the table for personal sprinkling atop dishes.)

  22. Deborah says:

    Here’s a summer one from the Southwest, courtesy of Whole Living.com –

    Corn, Avocado & Cilantro Salad

    Serves 4

    Ingredients –
    4 shucked ears of corn
    1 sliced Hass avocado
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro
    1 tbsp fresh lime juice
    1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp coarse salt

    Directions –
    [1] Heat grill to med-high and grill corn, rotating often, until lightly charred, about 15 mins.
    [2] Let cool slightly.
    [3] Carefully cut kernels from cob.
    [4] Gently toss with avocado, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil & salt

  23. pearlz says:

    The perfect blog for developing new tastes in food, you capture it beautifully Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      I think we stretch our horizons when we develop new food tastes, that’s for sure! We can get in a rut in so many areas of our lives at times…a little nudge toward new things can get us exploring new territories. Thank you.

  24. Tammy says:

    The new green! My own cilantro story is identical to yours.

  25. YUM! I really like Cilantro, although I admit I have not bought any to use in my own cooking. I am keeping spending to a miniumum at the moment, but I may consider growing some myself 🙂 A friend of mine has a wee spot in a community garden near where she lives.
    She had some onion and sweet potato plants left over and gave them to me. I am hoping they grow 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Your onion and sweet potato plants sound wonderful, Ann. We have never grown sweet potato–I would be interested to hear how it grows. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how easily cilantro grows, if you decide to give it a try. Good luck on your summer gardening!

      • It will be interesting to see how they turn out. So far the sweet potato plants are only growing taller and new leaves, but no sign of potatoes. The onions are not looking any different yet.
        Nothing Ican do about, but I have a birds nest in my tree out front which was made by a robin. However, a morning dove ended up making use of it. I have gotten pictures of either the female or male adult, but it is too high for me to see if any babies.

  26. I LOVE cilantro! In fact, I was at Home Depot earlier today picking up a few cilantro plants for my patio! Yum, yum, yum!

    PS – Sending you —–> virtual lemon creme cake! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      dancingantelope, I am lovin’ your lemon creme cake. It is a perfect dessert for such a hot night! smile…glad to hear about your cilantro plants. (we won’t put any on the lemon creme cake, will we?)

  27. The first time I tasted cilantro was in Cotati California at a Mexican Restaurant where the chef had overdone it – it was horrible.
    Years later gave cilantro another try and I must say, there are days when I crave it. I particularly love using in in Asian cooking.

    • Kathy says:

      Iris, old friend,nice to see you! 🙂 You make a very good point about overdoing the cilantro. Especially when we’re getting used to the taste it’s important that it’s not too overpowering. I love it in Asian cooking, too! Hope you’re having a lovely 4th at your motel.

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