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Wellness Wednesdays: Is it cilantro or coriander?

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Courtney Stinson, RND, for the information in this column.)

Coriander and cilantro are the same plant, but we get very different flavors from the seeds than the stems or leaves.

The seeds are known as coriander seed while coriander leaves, fresh coriander, and cilantro refer to the green leafy parts of the plant.

Cilantro is used in many cuisines around the world and has a pungent flavor that people either love or hate. Some people feel so strongly about cilantro they have a website devoted to it. The haikus are quite entertaining whether you’re a lover or a hater of the green leafy plant.

And, although many cilantro haters would like to convince us otherwise, cilantro has many health benefits. The entire plant is full of beneficial phytonutrients that may fight ageing and prevent chronic disease.

If you’re looking to try some flavors from around the world using your cilantro you may like Vietnamese Pho, pico de gallo, and dhaniya chatni (Indian cilantro chutney). A simple Internet search for these recipes will give you plenty of options.

To store your cilantro, put it in a glass of water like you would fresh cut flowers and place it in the refrigerator loosely covered with a plastic bag. I recommend changing the water daily to maintain freshness.

Courtney’s Guacamole Salsa with Nopalitos
4 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 small or ½ large sweet onion, diced
1 large or 2 small avocados, diced
1 small handful cilantro, washed and minced (feel free to use smaller tender stems, too)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of ½ lime
½ C. Nopalitos, chopped (Cactus marinated in vinegar with peppers and cilantro, read ingredients and don’t buy plain)
2 T. juice from the Nopalitos
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for later or enjoy it right away.

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