A lot of people think that Cilantro and Coriander are the same things, but they are not. Cilantro and Coriander originate from the plant species “Coriandrum Sativum.” Nonetheless, in various parts of the world, they are named differently.
Cilantro in North America is a reference to the plant’s leaves and stalks. The term ‘Cilantro’ is the name for coriander leaves in Spanish.
Meanwhile, the plant’s dried seeds are called Coriander. It is a different story overseas, the term for the plant’s leaves and stalks is Coriander, while the dried seeds are referred to as Coriander Seeds.
To avoid confusion, for the rest of this article, the leaves and the stalk of the Coriandrum Sativum will be referred to as Cilantro. In contrast, the dried seeds will be referred to as Coriander.
Despite coming from the same plant, Cilantro leaves, and Coriander seeds have different nutritional values, taste differently, and have other uses.
Nutritional values of Cilantro and Coriander
Cilantro and Coriander are very distinct when it comes to diet. Cilantro leaves have much higher levels of vitamin levels but reduced levels of minerals. On the other hand, Coriander seeds have lower levels of vitamins but far more minerals than Cilantro.
It is worth noting that Cilantro is all 92.2% of water. At the same time, Coriander seeds contain just 8.9 per cent water. This is a significant factor as to why Cilantro has lower levels of minerals because there are no minerals or calories in the water in Cilantro.
Therefore, though they come from the same plant, Cilantro and Coriander have completely different components in them. Cilantro has more significant levels of vitamin content such as Vitamins A, K and E while Coriander is more abundant in minerals like Manganese, Iron, Magnesium and Calcium.
Taste and aroma
Cilantro is a herb with a citrusy, fragrant taste. Several individuals love its smell and taste, while a few people, surprisingly, can not even stand being around it. Coriander tends to have a reduced polarizing taste and smell.
With a hint of citrus, its aroma is best described as hot, spicy and nutty. They share similar characteristics, and the spice is usually mixed with cinnamon and cumin.
They have different juices in cooking, and because of their various properties, people have been led to use them differently in recipes.
The fragrance, refreshing and citrusy taste of Cilantro leaves has made them a common garnish in South American, Mexican, Southern Asian, Chinese and Thai dishes.
Fresh Cilantro leaves are typically added just before serving since the heat from the hot food can reduce the flavor.
Here are some common dishes that contain Cilantro:
- Salsa: This is a Mexican side dish
- Guacamole (or Guac): This is an avocado-based dip
- Chutney: This is a sauce of Indian origin
- Acorda: A Portuguese bread soup
- Other variety of soups across the world
On the other hand, since Coriander seeds have a warmer, spicier taste, they are commonly used in dishes that have a spicier tinge to them.
Here are some common dished that contain Coriander seeds:
- Rice Dishes
- Soups and Stews
- Meat Sauces
- Pickled Vegetables
- Borodinski Bread: A sourdough bread of Russian origin
- DhaniaDall: A crush coriander seed popular Indian snack
Can Cilantro and Coriander be used interchangeably?
Cilantro and Coriander should not be used interchangeably because of their varying tastes. Consequently, since the word Coriander may refer to the leaves and stalk or the seeds, proper research may be required to try a new recipe, else you will ruin your meal.
Be sure to find out whether the recipe talks about the leaves and stalks or the seeds of the plant when you find a recipe that calls for Coriander.
Health Benefits of Cilantro and Coriander
Several studies have shown Cilantro and Coriander to have some impressive health benefits. However, most of these findings are not so sure because they have only been tested on animals. Even though they are almost confirmed, there is a need for more human-based researches.
The following are health benefits that Cilantro and Coriander share:
- May eliminate heart or chest burn
- May reduce risk factors for heart disease
- May lower your sugar level
- May help fight infections
Cilantro, on its own, is rich in Vitamin A, which makes it useful for preventing and treating eye problems and preventing eye diseases. It also a great anti-ageing agent. Coriander is effective in removing harmful metals like Mercury, Lead, Cadmium and Arsenic, etc., from the body.
How to choose and store Coriander and Cilantro
When you shop for Cilantro, it is preferable to pick leaves and stalks that are green. Try not to buy leaves that are wilted or yellow, as they are not as tasty as green ones. It is better to buy Coriander as full seeds instead of grinded or in powdered form.
Immediately Coriander is grinded, it loses its flavour very fast. So it is better for you to grind it right before you use it for cooking.
To preserve Cilantro leaves and stalks in the refrigerator, cut off the bottom of the stems and place them into a container filled, almost halfway water. Make sure to replace the water regularly and inspect it for any rotten or yellow leaves
It’s always good to try new foods out, especially when they pack a ton of nutrition. You can include these in your diet to boost immune system significantly.