The delectable, savory, aromatic spice that goes with every Indian Cuisine dish is the Coriander. Also known as Dhaniya in India, the Coriander is an add-on that adds fragrance to any dish be it meat dishes like Chicken, mutton, or any vegetable dish like potatoes and eggplant.
Belonging to the parsley family, Dhaniya is an edible plant that can be consumed from root to stem, but its leaves mostly tend to be used extensively.
It is also the oldest spice as seeds were found in ruins dating back to 5000 B.C and some seeds were even found in the Tomb of Tutankhamen. Most have compared its taste to be a little tarty, lemon taste.
- Dhaniya has a lot of nutrition and health benefits. Coriander is an excellent source of dietary fiber, manganese, iron, and magnesium as well.
- Also, coriander leaves are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and protein. They also contain small amounts of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, thiamin, niacin and carotene.
- It is used in the treatment of skin inflammation, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia, and indigestion.
- Coriander is also useful for menstrual disorders, smallpox, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, and blood sugar disorders, improve memory while also benefiting eye care and even fight cancer.
To Grow coriander at home is an easy task and a great outdoor activity for kids. All that is needed is soil, seeds, and a little time of your day. Mostly sown from March to September, coriander is an annual plant that can be grown indoors throughout the year.
- Best grown in one particular spot, coriander are prone to dying during transplantation due to its fragile root system. Coriander need full sun (8-10 Hrs) and only need a little shade during the hottest period.
- They grow best in well loosed, drained soil which does not have any clumps of mud in them. If you are planting them indoors, make sure you break the soil well to allow the plant to root which grows to a length of 25 cms.
- The seeds need to be sown ½ -2 inches beneath the soil surface and covered with a fine layer of mulch to prevent weeds from taking root.
- Coriander grows well in moist soil, so make sure you water the plants during the dry period. Do not overwater them as the roots are susceptible to root-rot. Germination of seeds can take up to 3 weeks (sometimes 3 days) and the leaves need about 20 cms distance to grow properly.
- The plants don’t need much fertilizers so a compost once a while can work, you can also use liquid organic fertilizer to deliver the nutrients. You can also add nitrogen to promote leaf growth (too much nitrogen may stunt the plant).
The Flowering depends on the weather. Hot weather promotes the plant to start flowering early so when you see the flowers begin to bud. Remove them immediately to promote more leaf growth.
The flowers taste bitter so it is better to remove them accordingly. However, if you are trying to harvest seeds, wait for the flowers to properly dry out and you can then just shake the plant to remove the seeds.
As the coriander is an herb, you can pluck leaves as necessary to make sure new leaves get the chance to grow or you can also remove the entire plant from the stem which would also allow them to grow faster.
If you are doing crop rotation, then remove the entire plant along with its roots.
Coriander leaves can be stored for almost a month, provided they are wrapped in paper and kept in a fridge with 5oC to 10oC.
You can use the leaves fresh as a garnish or as chutneys. The seeds have a distinct lemony taste and are usually crushed before being added to the recipe.