Ashleigh Smith + photo

Ashleigh Smith

Jan 11
2 min read
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A bundle of culantro sitting on a wood table with some cut up on a cutting board

What is Culantro?

I’ll be honest here, the first time I saw culantro written out I thought someone had just miss-spelled cilantro. Nope. Culantro is its own awesome plant. It is a lot like cilantro though.

It is often used interchangeably with it as it shares a very citrusy flavor and aroma. Culantro is different though as it has a stronger, peppery flavor and aroma that holds up through cooking, unlike cilantro.

Culantro is most popularly used in Caribbean, Latin American, and Southeast Asian cooking, but it is grown in tropical zones around the world.

As it grows it will develop a rosette shape with long, 2 inch wide lance-shaped leaves. If it bolts you can see its green flowers.

Culantro is useful for more than cooking, it is also good to plant in your garden to attract beneficial insects and prevent pesky aphids. Unlike cilantro, culantro is a biennial allowing you to get more use out of one plant.

To grow culantro, plant in the spring after the danger of frost has passed. It does best in full sun but can handle partial shade as well. Ideally, culantro will want a warm tropical climate but can grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 7-11.

Culantro seeds can be found through Kitazawa Seed Co. as they carry an array of seed for plants used in Asian cuisine.

When you are ready to harvest, cut the leaves off as you can use them. These leaves do not store well after being cut, only lasting about a week.

After bolting, remove the entire plant and allow it to dry for long term storage. Culantro seeds can usually be stored for 2 years before viability starts declining.

Other Names:

  • ngo gai
  • Shado beni
  • Chardon beni
  • Bandhaniya
  • Samat
  • Alcapate
  • Cilantro de monte
  • Cilantro habanero
  • Mexican coriander
  • Sneki wiwiri
  • Fitweed
  • Spiritweed
  • Stinkweed
  • duck -tongue herb
  • Sawtooth or saw-leaf herb
  • Broadleaf Cilantro

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