Also known as fresh coriander, cilantro is closely related to parsley. This fragrant, leafy green herb has been adding flavor and zest to food since 5000 B.C. and is a prominent ingredient in many Latin American and South East Asian cuisines. Commonly chopped fresh and added to salads, salsa, and guacamole, cilantro can also be used to make pesto, chutney, and various curries. The blossoms are also edible. For many, cilantro has a fresh, citrusy flavor that adds a bright note to spicier dishes. But for others, the herb tastes strongly of soap, a perception that researchers have recently linked to genetic variants.
High in vitamins A, C, and K and rich in antioxidants, cilantro is one of the few herbs recognized by the National Cancer Institute for its anti-cancer properties. In addition to its disease-fighting properties, the herb is also said to stabilize blood sugar levels and even help reduce cholesterol.