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Know It to Grow It: Cilantro

I am one of those people who puts cilantro in lots of different dishes. I’ve included it in eggs, salads, salsas, and juice to name a few!!!

Cilantro on the cutting board

Cilantro is a popular and widely used herb in cooking because of its distinctive taste. It's super easy to grow in the garden. Let’s take a deeper dive into this wonderful herb!

How to Grow Cilantro

Cilantro is very easy to grow. Here are some simple steps to successfully grow cilantro:

Cilantro in container
Cilantro Close Up

Location: Cilantro thrives in full to partial sun (4 to 6+ hours) and does well in well-drained fertile soil. In warmer climates, it can tolerate some shade during the hottest part of the day: noon to 3pm.

Planting: Cilantro seeds (also known as coriander seeds) can be sown directly in the garden when the soil temperatures are between 55℉ to 85℉. Sow seed about ¼ to ½ inch deep in rows or clusters.

Spacing: After your cilantro sprouts, thin out the plants so that they are spaced approximately 6 to 8 inches apart, providing ample space for their growth.

Watering: Cilantro prefers evenly moist soil. Check the top inch of soil and when it feels dry, it is time to water!

Fertilization: Before planting, you can incorporate a balanced all-purpose fertilizer into the soil or occasionally apply a liquid fertilizer during the growing season.

Harvesting: You can start harvesting the outer cilantro leaves when the plant is around 3 to 6 inches in height. Harvesting the outer leaves will encourage new growth. You can continue harvesting the leaves until the plant starts to bolt or when it starts to flower and produce seed.

Successive Planting: To extend your cilantro harvest, you can plant new seeds every few weeks (also known as the successive planting method). This will provide a continuous supply of fresh cilantro leaves.

Companion Planting: Basil, chives, and dill are great companion plants that can help deter pests and improve garden health.

Pests: Pests that can damage cilantro include aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.


Medicinal Benefits of Cilantro

It is believed that cilantro might have been used by the Ancient Egyptians as a part of the mummification procedure. 

Modern day scientific research on this herb has been ongoing and it is believed that cilantro does offer various health benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Digestive Health: Traditionally, Cilantro has been used to aid digestion, reduce gas, and alleviate bloating. It may have properties that soothe the digestive tract and improve overall gut function.

  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Preliminary studies have shown that cilantro contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Chelation of Heavy Metals: Some studies have suggested that cilantro may have a detoxifying effect and the ability to bind and help remove heavy metals from the body.

  • Antioxidant Activity: Cilantro is a source of antioxidants (antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress) that contribute to overall wellness.

  • Blood Sugar Regulation: Cilantro may have a role in supporting healthy blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing glucose absorption.

  • Heart Health: Some research suggests that cilantro may help lower levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides, promoting cardiovascular health.

  • Nutrient Content: Cilantro is rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium, which are important for overall health and wellness.

PLEASE NOTE: Cilantro is generally safe when used in culinary amounts, but if you're considering using cilantro for specific health purposes, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Check out "Not Too Late to Plant for Fall" Video!


Preservation Methods

Don't want to say "goodbye" to your cilantro at the end of the season?! Then maybe preservation is your answer! There are several methods you can use to prolong the freshness, preserve the flavor, and even save your cilantro for future recipes!

Refrigeration Method

  • Trim and clean any wilted or yellowing leaves from your cilantro bunch. Remove dirt and debris by gently rinsing in cold water. Pat the leaves dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.

  • Wrap cilantro in a damp paper towel and put in a seal plastic bag, leaving some air inside the bag.

  • Store the bag in the vegetable crisper drawer and check on it every few days. Change the paper towel if it becomes too wet.

Freezing Methods

  • Blanch and Freeze

You can preserve the color and flavor of your cilantro by putting the leaves quickly in

boiling water for about 5-10 seconds (blanching) followed by a plunge into ice water to

stop the cooking process. Drain them and pat them dry. Put in plastic bag and store in the


  • Chop and Freeze

Chop up cilantro leaves and put them in ice cube trays. Fill each compartment with a small

amount of olive oil or water to cover the herbs. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a

freezer safe container and take out a cube as needed for cooking!

Pesto made out of cilantro
Cilantro Pesto Recipe

Herb butter with cilantro
Cilantro Butter Recipe

Drying Methods

Drying herbs can make them more powerful or have a stronger flavor compared to fresh ones because the process of drying concentrates the flavors and essential oils, resulting in a

more intense taste. Below are several different ways to dry your garden fresh cilantro.

Dried sage, lavender, coriander, chamomile
Dried Herbs

Air Drying

Air drying rosemary, sage, and herbs
Air Drying Herbs
  • Tie the cilantro stems together with twine and hang them upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

  • Once the leaves are completely dry and crispy, gently remove them from the stems and store in an airtight container.

Oven Drying

  • Oven Drying (Low Heat): Spread the cilantro leaves on a baking sheet and place them in an oven set to the lowest temperature (usually around 150-200°F or 65-93°C).

  • Leave the oven door slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape.

  • Check regularly until the leaves are dry and crumble easily.


  • Before starting, preheat your dehydrator to a range of 95℉ to 115℉. If you live in a humid area, consider setting the temperature up to 125℉.

  • Make sure your cilantro is dry before placing it on dehydrator trays in a single layer.

  • Remove large leaves from thick stems to shorten drying time while leaving small leaves on the stems.

  • Expect 1-4 hours for drying.

  • Cilantro is dry when the leaves crumble and the stems break when bent.

  • Remove dried cilantro from the dehydrator and allow them to cool before storing to avoid condensation forming.

Oil or Vinegar Preservation

Cilantro and Oil

Cilantro-Infused Oil

  • Blend cilantro leaves with extra virgin olive oil to create a flavorful herb-infused oil.

  • Pour the mixture into a clean glass bottle, seal tightly, and store in the refrigerator.

  • Use the oil as a drizzle or marinade.

Cilantro Vinegar

  • Put washed and dried cilantro leaves in a clean glass bottle.

  • Fill the bottle with vinegar.

  • *You can use apple cider or white vinegar.

  • Seal tightly. Let it sit in a cool, dark place for a few weeks before using.

One thing to remember: When you preserve cilantro in any of the above methods, the flavor of the cilantro may slightly change. Anyone of these methods will extend your enjoyment of the flavor and aroma of cilantro!


Until next time, have a FANTASTIC gardening day!

#cilantro #gardening #organic #howto #kitchengardenexpert

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