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Cilantro: you probably either love it or hate it! These dark green leaves of the coriander plant are often sprinkled on tacos or used in curries, and they’re rich in antioxidants and beta-carotene. Cilantro is known as a "functional" food, meaning it has specific health-inducing properties. People use this herb to detox from heavy metals (like mercury and lead) as well as for ailments like toothaches. If you’re in the camp of cilantro haters (some people think it tastes soapy and inedible), the good news is that supplemental cilantro is usually taken in capsules or tincture (and if it’s the latter, don’t fret—you can always mix it into a green juice to disguise the taste). In raw form, it would be pretty hard to eat enough cilantro to reap the potential detox benefits.

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Podcasts about Cilantro


Gastro Pod: The Good, The Bad, The Cilantro

Some people (like Gastropod co-host Cynthia Graber) absolutely detest cilantro. From their very first taste of the humble herb, they find themselves repelled by what many consider a soapy, metallic, deeply off-putting flavor. These people are not shy about sharing their feelings: there are “I Hate Cilantro” websites, Facebook groups, and blogs. Somehow, cilantro inspires a degree of vociferous loathing that is unlike any other food. And yet there are others (like co-host Nicola Twilley) who adore the herb. It adds what they consider a delightful green, herbal complexity to cuisines from Mexican to Thai to Indian. Billions of people around the world enjoy cilantro daily, and consider their guacamole, noodles, and soups nearly naked without it. What is it that makes this herb a culinary essential for some and a culinary nemesis for others? In this episode of Gastropod, we speak with botanist Michael Balick to learn about the long culinary and medicinal history of the herb, whose recorded use dates back to the Babylonians. With scientist Charles Wysocki, we investigate the popular belief that cilantro hatred has a genetic basis by visiting the annual twin meet-up in Twinsburg, Ohio. And food scientist and author Harold McGee joins Gastropod to coach Cynthia through his recommended cilantro desensitization technique, by adding cilantro pesto to her daily diet. This episode is introduced by best-selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin, a cilantro hater who suggested Cynthia become a guinea pig for cilantro conversion therapy, in his stead. But will Cynthia be able to choke down a daily dose of the green stuff? Will she end up tolerating—even perhaps liking—the herb by the end of the week? Whether you’re a lover or a hater, listen in to find out the answer—and the history and science behind it.

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