Coriander is an ancient spice that has become a prominent ingredient in homes and restaurants around the world.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the very rich history, origins, and common uses of coriander; focusing mainly on coriander seed and its various properties.
Coriander comes from Coriandrum sativrum, an annual leafy plant in the parsley family. All parts of the plants are edible, with the most well-known being the small, delicate, bright green leaves (cilantro), and the small fruit (coriander seeds). Each seed is tan-to-brown in color and round in shape, with some slight tapering at one or both ends. Parallel ridges run lengthwise along the sides. It’s also important to note that coriander seeds have some variation in shape, size, and color, depending on their variety.
Coriander seed has a potent and distinct flavor that can be described as warm, aromatic, and slightly nutty. It has light notes of citrus, sage, and curry.
Coriander is a long celebrated spice that dates back thousands of years. It was discovered in Egyptian tombs dating back to approximately 1,000 BCE, and it is mentioned in the Bible in The Book of Exodus. Upon its discovery, coriander was favored mostly for its believed medicinal properties. Since the 3rd century BCE, however, it became revered for its flavor and coveted by Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
The coriander plant is native to the Mediterranean region, yet quickly spread to Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia.
Major suppliers of coriander today include Canada, India, and Morocco.
Coriander seed should always be tightly sealed and stored in a cool, dry, dark place; above ground and away from the wall. When it’s stored properly, ground product can maintain optimal flavor and aroma for up to one year and whole seeds can remain fresh for even longer.
In product manufacturing, coriander is broadly used for its flavor and fragrance in cosmetics, tobacco, and even medicine. In the food and beverage industry, the entire coriander plant can be harvested and used in cooking.
The stems and leaves are known in the U.S. primarily as cilantro and are also sometimes called coriander leaves. They are commonly used for their bright, tangy fragrance and flavor in Latin American and Chinese cuisine. Coriander seed gives curry its signature flavor and is also a delicious addition to a variety of other dishes including soups, pickles, and meat rubs. Coriander seed is also popularly used in the distilling industry to flavor gin and other liquors, and sausage.
Try coriander seed in:
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Vegetable Soup
At Pacific Spice, we sell whole, ground, and cracked coriander seed as well as dried cilantro leaves. Contact us for a quote!