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Coriander Seeds

Coriander seeds are used in innumerable ways, primarily in cooking and treating ailments. This story gives you information about this wonderful spice.
Coriander is a culinary spice, classified under the family Apiaceae. This leafy herb is known by varied names like cilantro and Chinese parsley in different regions. However, one thing that is commonly known by people all over the world is adding fresh coriander leaves and dried seeds to flavor delicacies.
The fresh leaves and stems impart a unique citrus flavor when used in garnishing dishes; whereas whole coriander seeds or their grounded form are added as spices in cooking.
In general, the dried fruits of cilantro are called coriander seeds. They are yellowish brown and marked with longitudinal ridges. A single fruit is made up of two seeds, which when dried are used for cooking and therapeutic purposes.

Benefits

Coriander seeds are loaded with innumerable health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-diabetic, and cholesterol lowering properties.
The liquid yielded after boiling these seeds in water has long been used as a carminative and diuretic agent in herbal medicine. Also, coriander seeds alone or mixed with other herbs are used for treatment of skin disorders, anxiety, insomnia, and digestive problems.

Uses

As mentioned already, coriander is used as a culinary herb and also, in traditional herbal medicine. These uses are attributed to the beneficial phytonutrient (carvone, camphor, limonene, etc.), flavonoid (rhamnetin, quercetin, apigenin) and phenolic acid (chlorogenic acid, caffeic) present in the seeds. Besides these, coriander seeds are a good source of iron, dietary fiber, and magnesium.
Coriander seeds can be used as whole or in powdered form. After crushing, they have a sweetish, nutty, and citrus flavor. They go well with any type of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dish. In fact, you can add coriander seeds in any recipe such as stir frying, marinade, relish, soup, broth, dip sauce, etc. They are an important ingredient in making dried blend, spice paste, and sauce.

Substitutes

No doubt, coriander seeds are useful in many ways. But, it is to be borne in mind that they may be act as allergens for some people. The best option for replacing them in recipes is fresh cilantro leaves.
Other than this, you can also use cardamom, cumin, caraway, and fennel seeds as substitutes. Instead of using 1 tablespoon of ground coriander, use 1 teaspoon of any of the said spices. They will impart a nearly same flavor to the dish.

Growing

Growing cilantro is done exclusively from coriander seeds. Most hobbyists have a misconception that they are difficult to grow in vegetable garden, which is exactly not the case. This may be because of the long seed germination time. With simple preparatory tips, you can quicken sprouting of the seeds and maintain healthy cilantro plants, both in pots and garden soil.
Before sowing, crush them lightly to break open the seeds. Sow these seeds in a well prepared garden bed, water deeply and cover with a plastic sheet. Doing so will help conserve soil moisture, which in turn promotes germination of coriander seeds.
Remove the sheet and water at regular intervals, until the seeds germinate. Once, you notice development of first leaves, take off the sheet and maintain the plants like you do for other vegetable herbs.
In order to enjoy the rich flavor of coriander seeds, you can grind them and store grounded coriander in airtight containers. Consider roasting or dry frying briefly before grinding to enhance their flavor. Use powder within six months to get its rich aroma.