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Plantidote of the Day 2012-07-25

twig's picture


Herb fail

Guess what this plant was supposed to be. Clues: It's a common herb, one that people seem to love or hate. It does not normally look like this, so the image is actually not much help. I don't know what went wrong, but whatever it was -- bad fertilizer, old seeds, radiation -- it went really wrong. To see what it's supposed to look like, check out the image below the fold.


Yes, it's cilantro -- the most polarizing herb I know of. I put it on everything, but a lot of people absolutely cannot stand it. In fact, I read somewhere that Julia Child said she though the only thing it was good for was throwing on the floor or something like that. Sorry, Julia, but cilantro is actually very good for you. But like broccoli, some people seem to be genetically predisposed not to like its unusual flavor :-( As my mom used to say, that's okay, more for me.


Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the csomments.

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lizpolaris's picture
Submitted by lizpolaris on

But there are other odd things that I hate that everyone else likes - cantaloupe is the strangest one.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

recipe, which could not be much easier, unless someone made it for you. The only trick is after washing the cilantro, get rid of as much water as possible, either with paper towels or a salad spinner thing.

1 cup packed fresh organic cilantro leaves
1/2 cup almonds
3 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup grated Reggiano or parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine the cilantro, garlic and almonds in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, stopping several times to push the unblended leaves, etc. back into the blades.

Add the parmesan, oil and salt and puree to a smooth paste. Use as a pasta sauce, or with fish, chicken or rice. This pesto is also excellent in vegetable or bean soups. Just add a tablespoon or two to your favorite soup and mix thoroughly.

Cantaloupes -- interesting! Actually, I like the flavor but they make my throat itchy and scratchy, which I assume means I should not eat them.

Submitted by hipparchia on

yeap, i guessed it was going to be cilantro too, from your "divisive" comment! count me among the ones for whom it tastes like soap. with overtones of i'm not sure what, plastic maybe.

i have grown to like the salsa recipes that use cilantro, but not much else.

that said, when i was a kid, i hated both cantaloupe and tomatoes, but i really like them both a lot now. still can't bring myself to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice though. maybe if i were to put cilantro pesto on some grapefruit slices... ;)

Submitted by hipparchia on

i am originally from the part of texas that grows ruby red grapefruit. i really and truly had no idea that grapefruit could be pinkish, yellowish, or whatever other pastel colors it comes in until i had lived in florida for many years.

and no, i don't like any of them.

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

But, lazy me I didn't make a comment immediately when I saw photo.

I knew what it was b/c of the mention of "divisive".

But I knew just from the picture. I bought a cilantro plant from the grocery store maybe 1 1/2 months ago because I needed just a few leaves at the time. Didn't want by buy a bundle of cilantro and throw most of it away. Snipped those leaves off, and waited for regrowth. Okay, more leaves. But then, added to that, plant sprouted "other green stuff".

I needed more cilantro, so I used both the regular leaves and the new part that was getting ready to flower. Looked exactly like your first photo, but not so far into the flowering process. And, same taste.

I have no idea what's going on, but the few cilantro plants I've had before have not tried to form flowers. Now they are. Same for two types of parsley!

Valley Girl's picture
Submitted by Valley Girl on

I thought it might have something to do with the hot weather. But thinking that LA had not been especially unusually hot, that didn't explain Twig's mystery.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

but now that I think about it, that first shot is probably from 2010 and I think that was the summer we had our last really bad hot spell. So that explains what happened.

And I did not know about the coriander seeds coming later, either. Very cool! Thanks, hipp!

jerztomato's picture
Submitted by jerztomato on

Especially in salsa and that condiment they serve at Indian restaurants.