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Health Benefits of Cilantro

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Cilantro

Source: Web MD
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Lindsay-Moe

Cilantro is a fragrant herb commonly used in Central American, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisines. In the United States, cilantro refers to the leaves and stems of the Coriandrum sativum plant, while the seeds are called coriander. In many cultures, the word coriander can refer to any part of the plant. 

Health Benefits

Like many culinary herbs, cilantro has been used medicinally since ancient times. Modern research methods are finding support for some of the health claims attributed to this plant. 

Some health benefits of cilantro may include:

Brain Health

Although further research is still needed, several studies have connected eating cilantro with reduced symptoms of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. 

In one study, cilantro extract reduced seizure attacks and prevented nerve-cell damage in rats.In another, when fresh cilantro leaves were added to the diets of laboratory mice, scientists saw improvements in their memory.

Reduced Anxiety

In animal studies, extracts from the cilantro plant have proven almost as effective as medication at reducing anxiety symptoms. Studies with human subjects are still needed.

Blood Sugar Management

Cilantro is so well-known for its ability to lower blood sugar that people with low blood sugar or those taking diabetes medications are warned to be careful with the herb. 

In animal studies, coriander seeds reduced blood sugar by stimulating an enzyme that removes sugar from the blood.

In another study, cilantro extract decreased blood sugar in rats with obesity and high blood sugar. The effects were similar to the blood sugar medication glibenclamide.https://2442b8e6b677ebc0a9b530afe5a0c93f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Prevent Foodborne Illnesses

The cilantro plant contains dodecenal, an antimicrobial compound that may help protect your body against infections and illnesses caused by tainted food. The compound is effective against Salmonella, a microbe that can cause life-threatening food poisoning.

Another study found that compounds in cilantro are effective against several bacteria, including those that cause foodborne illnesses and hospital-acquired infections.

Nutrition

Cilantro contains vitamins A, C, and K, and the leaves also have folate, potassium, and manganese. However, it’s rarely eaten in large enough amounts to be a significant source of these nutrients.

Nutrients per Serving

1 tablespoon of cilantro contains:

  • Calories: 0
  •  Fiber: 0 grams
  •  Fat: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 grams

Things to Watch Out For

People with low blood sugar should be cautious with how much cilantro and coriander they eat. The plant contains enzymes that can reduce blood sugar, so it should be eaten in moderation if you are concerned about low blood sugar.

How to Prepare Cilantro

Fresh cilantro is often paired with lime as an addition to curries, soups, and Asian dishes. Although both the leaves and stems are edible, the stems have a somewhat bitter flavor. Many people prefer to strip the leaves from the plant before adding to recipes, or to chop and add the stems sparingly.

Try these ways to use cilantro in your favorite recipes:

  • Sprinkle chopped cilantro on Mexican dishes and salsas to add a fresh flavor.
  • Make a spring roll by wrapping whole sprigs of cilantro with cooked pork, cucumber, carrot, and vermicelli noodles.
  • Mix cilantro and lime to make a delicious seasoning for grilled fish.
  • Chop cilantro and mix it into cooked rice with butter and lime zest.
  • Puree cilantro with roasted carrots, onion, and garlic to make a hearty soup. 

How can cilantro contribute to your dietary and health needs? What medicinal benefits of cilantro are most appealing? How can you incorporate cilantro into your diet?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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This coconut rice with salmon and cilantro sauce deserves a spot in your regular recipe rotation

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Cilantro and Salmon

Total time:

40 mins

Servings:

By Ann Maloney Recipes editor
August 26, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. EDT
Source: The Washington Post
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Sebastian-Coman

One of the most gratifying experiences I can have as a food writer occurs when readers send an email to tell me that a dish I’ve shared in Dinner in Minutes is now part of their regular recipe rotation. I do a little happy dance in my desk chair.

Inevitably, that recipe already is on repeat in my own kitchen because it comes together quickly and is delicious, but also has that little something extra — a surprisingly bold flavor, a touch of elegance or a sauce or component that I find myself carrying over to other dishes.

People who love to cook inevitably talk about food — a lot. If we make something delicious, we have to tell someone about it, to bring them a taste or at least share the recipe.

So, it wasn’t surprising that right after I started at The Post in December, my new colleague Olga Massov shared a recipe with me that she frequently served to her family: Coconut Rice With Salmon and Cilantro Sauce from “The Kitchen Shelf” by Rosie Reynolds and Eve O’Sullivan (Phaidon, 2016).AD

Olga lent me the cookbook, and as I read through the recipe, I thought this little number checks all the boxes. Yes, it has three parts: the rice, the fish and the sauce, but each of those parts is easily executed.

The cookbook’s full title includes this phrase: “Take a few pantry essentials, add two ingredients and make everyday eating extraordinary.” The idea is that you use common pantry ingredients with just a couple of fresh additions — in this case cilantro and fish — and you can put a scrumptious meal on the table.

Although it was written four years ago, the cookbook fits in perfectly with the way we are cooking during the pandemic — from our pantries, with minimal extra shopping.

The cookbook authors offer time-saving tips. For example, in this recipe, they suggest two ways to cook the salmon. The faster and easier way is to steam the fillets atop the rice as it cooks. If, however, you prefer a crispy salmon skin, you can allow the rice to cook on its own and pan-fry your salmon.AD

For me, however, the salmon is the least interesting thing here.

The rice cooked with softened onion, garlic and a pinch of sugar in full-fat coconut milk is creamy and divine on its own. The cilantro sauce — a whole bunch of the herb leaves whirred in a food processor with a syrup made of water, sugar and crushed red pepper flakes — goes over the rice, but I could just eat that up with a spoon.

When I realized that I have now made this dish several times and have made the rice and cilantro sauce to go with other kinds of fish, broiled shrimp and pan-fried skirt steak, I knew it was time to share it with you, too.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE RICE AND SALMON
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (about 4 ounces), finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed until the water runs clear
  • 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 (3- to 4-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
  • FOR THE SAUCE
  • Scant 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus more as needed for serving
  • 1 large bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped
  • 4 lime wedges, for serving (optional)

Step 1

Make the rice: In a large, lidded skillet or pan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens and just starts to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat it in the oil. Add the coconut milk, then half-fill the empty can with water and add it to the pan. Add the salt and sugar, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low so the mixture is at a simmer and cover the skillet.AD

Cook for 5 minutes, then uncover the pan. Carefully place the salmon fillets on top of the rice, re-cover the pot and cook until the rice is just tender, the salmon cooked, and the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes more. (If the rice is not tender, but the salmon is cooked, remove the fish, re-cover the pot and continue cooking for a few minutes more.)

Step 2

Make the sauce: While the rice and salmon are cooking, in a small pan over high heat, combine the water, sugar, salt and crushed red pepper and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer the sauce until slightly reduced and syrupy, about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Place the cilantro in a food processor and pulse to chop. Gradually pour in the syrup and pulse the cilantro until very finely chopped, and the sauce is combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings; the sauce should be slightly sweet, with a hint of heat. Add more crushed red pepper, sugar or salt, as needed.

Step 3

To serve, transfer the salmon off the rice to a plate. Gently stir the rice and divide the rice across 4 plates. Top with a salmon fillet and drizzle the sauce over. Sprinkle with additional crushed red pepper flakes, if desired, and serve with a wedge of lime, if using.

Step 4

Alternative for the salmon: If you prefer a pan-seared salmon fillet, cook it separately from the rice. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles when it hits the surface. Add the fillets, skin side up, and cook until just lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the fillets over and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the salmon looks almost cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes; you can check using the tip of a sharp knife. You should see a slightly darker center. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillet.AD

With either fish preparation, if you prefer to serve the salmon without the skin, it is easier to remove it after cooking the fish.

Adapted from “The Kitchen Shelf” by Rosie Reynolds and Eve O’Sullivan (Phaidon, 2016).

Tested by Ann Maloney; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Browse our Recipe Finder for more than 9,000 Post-tested recipes at washingtonpost.com/recipes.

Nutrition

Calories: 619; Total Fat: 30 g; Saturated Fat: 20 g; Cholesterol: 47 mg; Sodium: 332 mg; Carbohydrates: 65 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 6 g; Protein: 24 g.

This dish is a quick, easy and delicious way to incorporate cilantro and its many medicinal benefits into your diet not to mention the other ingredients. What are your dietary needs? How can you eat healthy on the run? What other ways can you incorporate herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables and other whole foods into your diet?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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How is the Garden

Cynoglossum amabile flower

The Garden is progressing very well. MiMi’s flower has grown pretty big. She out grew another pot and will probably out grow this one too. We are thinking of just getting a pillar. She really wants to be in the ground. But, we will see how we do with the pot for now. She has come a long way from a small little seed in a little bucket a few inches tall to a ma-mouth pot that looks great on the front porch. We recently moved a few plants from the back porch to the front porch (oregano, dill and chives). We put these plants in bigger pots hoping to give their roots more space to spread out and grow up. We also have echinacea on the front porch that went into a bigger pot. We freshened up cilantro hoping a few more seeds will sprout filling out cilantro’s bunch. And Parsley is doing just great and is absolutely delicious.

We also harvested some parsley from the garden and placed it into some water until we cook it. We believe that we have “Korean Lettuce”. It has grown into a full grown plant. And the cayenne pepper has one full pepper on its plant. One pepper is all you need with cayenne so, that is good. We know a few people who like it hot. Do you? If so, stay tune for updates on cayenne pepper. Have you ever grown a plant you knew very little about? We did: our “Korean Lettuce”. Stay tuned for how we cook up this mysterious treat. Have you been by our neighborhood garden? What are you waiting for? Schedule a time to come by.

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

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Always Fresh Cilantro Pots


Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
How to Harvest Cilantro
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Growing Cilantro Indoors (Kitchen Garden or Container Gardening)

Cilantro is all grown up and will be going home from its “nursery”. Above are some resources for caring for your plants once you get them home. Take care cilantro. Be sure to write us and send us many pictures. She was grown without chemicals. But since her seeds did not come to us Organic, we will not say she is 100% Organic. What would you like to know about the plants you bring home? How can we make this experience better for you? What are the benefits of harvesting your herbs fresh from your kitchen or patio? As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

If these articles have been helpful to you and yours, give a donation to Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook Ezine today.

Fresh Cilantro Pot
Fresh Cilantro Plant in Pot
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook