Coriander

Updated: Feb 2, 2019

Cultivated coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herbaceous plant of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae).

It is an aromatic plant cultivated in temperate zones around the world and used for many culinary preparations, particularly in Asia, Latin America and Mediterranean cuisine.

The leaves are usually used fresh as an accompaniment or as a condiment.

The dried fruits, often confused with seeds, are used as a spice. Ground, they are a basic ingredient of many mixtures, such as curries.

The roots are mostly used in Asian cooking, especially in Thailand. Pounded with garlic and pepper, they are a basic condiment. Coriander is also a medicinal plant.

Fifteen dried mericarp’s were found at the Neolithic Preceramic period of the Nahal Hemar Cave in Israel, possibly the oldest archaeological record of coriander (around 6,000 BC). The earliest evidence of fruit use is a papyrus dated to 1,550 BC, in a listing of medicinal plants.

About half a litre of mericarp’s was found in the tomb of Tutankhamen and their presence is common in other burials of ancient Egypt at that time.

Coriander is probably from the Near East or South of Europe and spread very early through the Old World.

© 2018 Wessel Woortman

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