Cilantro is an annual leafy herb which grows one to two feet tall and has finely cut leaves which have a penetrating odor and flavor. All parts of the plants are edible, but the leaves are harvested and called cilantro and when the seeds are harvested, they are known as coriander.
How to harvest: Snip off the top part of the main stem as soon as it appears to be developing flower buds or seed pods. This will allow the plant to grow taller and continue making leaves. Snip the leaves at any time. Regularly harvesting will encourage new growth. To harvest coriander seeds, wait until the seed pods at the top of the stem begin to turn brown and crack if pressed. Then, cut off the seed heads along with a few inches of stalk and hang them upside down in a brown paper bag. When the seeds are fully dry, they will fall out of the heads and into the bottom of the bag.
How to prepare: Finely chop the cilantro leaves and add them to salsas, stews, and sauces, or add as a garnish to chicken or fish plates. The coriander seeds can be stored in a jar for a long time. The best way to get the full flavor from the seeds is to grind them over a dish or to dry-fry them in a pan over medium heat with no oil, stirring constantly until the aroma is released. Then they can be added to marinades or dressings.