Culantro vs Cilantro

Culantro vs Cilantro: The Difference, Origin, and Benefits

Do you know the key differences between cilantro and culantro herbs? They sound so similar, don’t they? The difference between them may seem to be a typo to those unfamiliar with both herbs, but it’s not. 

Culantro and cilantro are both popular herbs found all over the Americas. Even though these herbs are all parsley family members, they have different shapes and uses.

Let’s find out the main differences between culantro vs cilantro, as well as what their benefits are and how you can use them. 

See our master for substitutes resource page.

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Can I Substitute Culantro For Cilantro

Yes, you can replace culantro with cilantro. Culantro has a slightly stronger taste so you will not need as much

Cilantro Is Well Know - Culantro not so much
Cilantro Is Well Know – Culantro not so much – Can you swap them

What Is Cilantro?

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum L) is a member of the Apiaceae family, which includes carrots, celery, and parsley among its 3,700 members. 

Cilantro has other names, including Chinese parsley and Mexican parsley. It’s also known as fresh coriander (cilantro in Spanish) leaves in the United Kingdom and a few other countries.

The plant’s height can range from 8 to 55 inches. Aerial leaves are elongated and more split than newly generated, oval ones. 

It’s an annual herbaceous plant that thrives from October through February. It’s native to Italy, although it is now grown in Morocco, Malta, Egypt, and Asia. 

Although all plant parts are edible, the leaves and seeds are the most commonly used. Due to the presence of aldehydes, cilantro has a lime-like flavor.

Fresh cilantro has a pungent, vibrant, lemony, and peppery flavor. It tastes soapy to a specific percentage of the population.

Cilantro is always sprinkled on top of Indian meals. It’s commonly used in Mexican salsa, Moroccan chermoula, and Yemeni zhug.

Cilantro usage promotes collagen synthesis and protects the skin from UVB damage. It’s high in phenolics, flavonoids, steroids, and tannins, all of which assist in lowering blood sugar levels.

It also lowers total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol while raising HDL cholesterol. Linalool, found in cilantro, has been shown to have a relaxing effect. It helps elongate sleep time without causing neurotoxicity.

Cilantro also helps in the fight against Salmonella choleraesuis, a bacteria that causes typhoid, diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and vomiting in patients with severe illnesses.

Culantro can you replace it with Cilantro
Culantro can you replace it with Cilantro

What Is Culantro?

Culantro is a tropical herb that belongs to the Apiaceae family, specifically the Eryngium genus. Its scientific name is Eryngium foetidum.

It’s a herb that’s native to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The leaves of the culantro plant are tall and thin, and they have serrated edges. It’s a herb that’s used in both cooking and medicine.

Culantro is also known as spiny cilantro, long-leafed coriander, saw-toothed mint, and cilantro de hoja ancha, which means “broadleaf cilantro” in Spanish.

Recao is also a common name for culantro in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and it’s also known as chandon beni in various parts of the Caribbean. 

Culantro leaves are frequently used in cooking since they have a strong flavor and scent that fades beautifully with heat. Its soft leaves can be stir-fried and boiled, as well as used in salsas, chutneys, sauces, rice, stews, and soups. They can also be stuffed with meat.

Culantro is a good source of iron, riboflavin, calcium, and carotene. It has a pungent odor and a notable soapy flavor similar to cilantro but more intense.

It’s also used in traditional medicine to treat things like malaria, diarrhea, burns, and earaches. Culantro is also known as fitweed or spiritweed, and it’s said to help people relax.

This herb has antibacterial and antifungal properties and the ability to protect the body from infections. Their leaf includes stigmasterol and other components that help treat acute and chronic intestinal inflammation.

Culantro leaves contain flavonoids and saponins, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. Its leaves also are rich in vitamins A, B2, B1, and C, as well as potent antioxidants that boost vitality and immunity.

Culantro vs Cilantro

Cilantro and culantro are botanical cousins, but both have different appearances, aromas, and tastes. Below are the main differences between culantro and cilantro.

Appearance

Culantro leaves have many tiny yellow spines and are long, waxy, saw-toothed, and lettuce-shaped. The leaves form rosettes on a thick, short stem and are spirally arranged.

The flowers of culantro are green and feature spines as well. As the plant matures, the spines become fairly sharp.

Cilantro leaves, on the other hand, are tiny and lacy, similar to parsley, and have three rounded “fingers” with no spines. 

Cilantro leaves grow on the tips of tall, slender stems that rise several inches above ground level. The flowers are white and have no spines.

Genus

Both culantro and cilantro belong to the same plant family (Apiaceae), but every plant has a different genus. 

Cilantro belongs to the Coriandrum genus, while cilantro belongs to the Eryngium genus.

Common Name

Culantro (Eryngium foetidum) is known as Mexican coriander, long-leaf coriander (bandhania), spiny coriander, or Mexican parsley.

While cilantro (Coriandrum sativum L) is known as Chinese parsley, phak chee, or coriander (dhaniya).

Growth

Cilantro is native to North America, Asia, and Europe, while culantro is native to Central America, Europe, and parts of Asia

Culantro is a biennial herb that grows every two years. Cilantro is an annual plant, meaning it dies each year and is regrown by the seeds it produces.

Taste

Culantro has an aromatic scent and a stronger citrusy or earthy flavor than cilantro. Culantro is much stronger than cilantro, in fact, so it tastes unpleasant in large amounts. As a result, it can be used in smaller portions without overpowering the dish.

Usage 

Culantro is ideally added during the cooking process to enhance the flavor of meals. The leaves are more robust than cilantro and can resist being boiled at high temperatures.

It’s better to add cilantro after cooking because the leaves are delicate and tender.

Nutrition Benefits

Cilantro is high in provitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and manganese. It relieves anxiety, enhances sleep due to its calming qualities, and lowers the risk of heart disease.

Culantro, on the other hand, is high in calcium, iron, and phosphorus. It helps in the formation of blood and the strengthening of bones.

Storage

Cilantro is a delicate, tender herb. It must be kept cool and hydrated at all times. Keep the herb stems in a small glass filled with water in the fridge. This way, the herb will not wilt or melt.

Culantro is a tougher herb. It takes longer to wilt than cilantro. It should be stored in a cool, damp environment.

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