Culantro is not cilantro. It has long leaves with tapered tips and serrated edges. When it comes to flavor, culantro is like cilantro, times ten.

  In warmer climates, above Zone 7s, the actual cilantro plant can be reseeded and grown commercially, harvesting the leaves as they appear. In zone 7, and below, the climate is seasonally ideal for Cilantro so many people buy the plant expecting it to bear leaves for an extended period, but it will not. The reason is true cilantro, in heat, is working to expend it's energies to go to seed, coriander. Leaves are herbs, seeds are spices as a general rule in understanding the difference between the two.

  The solution to a perennial heat bearing cilantro is the plant, Culantro - Ergyngium foetidum. Culantro is a biennial herb grown throughout the Caribbean and Central America, and is a key ingredient in Puerto Rican cooking. It is relatively unknown in the United States, and is often mistaken for its relative cilantro (Coriandrum sativum L.). It is also known by many other names, such as Puerto Rican coriander, Black Benny, saw leaf herb, Mexican coriander, Saw tooth coriander, long coriander, Spiny coriander, Fitweed, and spiritweed. In Puerto Rico it is known as recao. When cultivated, culantro has a strong, aromatic scent that fills the air when you brush up against it.

 

  Culantro can be planted in pots or on the ground. If planted in the ground, this herb will continue to reproduce for an almost endless supply. Culantro is relatively pest and disease free. It is rumored to be attractive to beneficial insects such as ladybugs, green lacewings, and to provide an excellent defense in the garden against aphids. In cooking it is used to flavor salsa, softrito, chutney, ceviche, sauces, rice, stews, and soups. To harvest, remove the oldest leaves all the way down to the base of the plant leaving the young new leaves to grow. The leaves can be chopped and used fresh or frozen to keep their flavor.  Although used in small amounts, its very strong flavor is used as a seasoning in a wide range of foods, including meats, vegetables, and chutneys. Because of this aroma similarity the leaves are used interchangeably in many food preparations and is the major reason for the misnaming of one herb for the other. In Asia, culantro is most popular in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore where it is commonly used with or in lieu of cilantro and topped over soups, noodle dishes, and curries.

  Unlike cilantro, culantro doesn't bolt, it will produce seeds, but the foliage stays aromatic and tasty. It is a tender perennial that can be wintered over in a pot or cut back and mulch over in the fall.

  Culantro is the answer for those who enjoy cilantro but live in a hot/warm climate and want fresh all spring/summer and fall.


Lovage Was One Of The Most Popular Herbs For HerbFest Due To It's Culinary, Aromatic and Medicinal Uses

   Lovage ( Ligusticum officinale) is a wonderful, very old herb with properties perfect for today's healthy lifestyles. The unique flavor, which is a combination of strong celery flavour with a hint of anise, lends a wonderful flavour tosoups, stews, stocks, salads, meat, potato, tomato dishes even seafood. The stalks can be used for drinking straws, which not only attracts, amuses and educates the kids into the fun of an herb garden, but allows adults a new, novel tool to sip the Bloody Mary adding a warm balancing flavor to the acid taste of tomatoes!!

   Lovage has a very distinctive celery/anise flavor coupled with a rich warm aroma of nuttiness to bring fragrance into the kitchen. The smell of freshly pinched leaves permeates the kitchen bringing an aura of comfort food to the table whether lovage is in the dish or not. The aroma adds to the experience of dining. The leaves of lovage can be used to flavor food and also the seeds. You can use lovage much as you would celery or parsley but to a lesser degree due to the strong flavor of the leaves.

   Lovage grows best in mild tropical areas such as Southern Europe where it is a perennial plant. Lovage has moved from it's traditional climatic area to many new zones in the world due to it's popularity as a flavoring, aromatic herb.

   In climates such as zone 7 it is now a tender perennial and in climates below zone 7 is treated as an annual. In Southern Europe it grows 3- 5 feet and is a very showy plant in the garden with the distinctive leaf textures and celery stalk appearance. Lovage prefers well drained soil and a pH of 6.5 with organic compost as the ground cover. Best growing if placed in a full sun area with a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight reminiscent of the many Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, oregano, and basils. Historically lovage was one of the classic flavors of Roman cookery.

   Medicinally lovage has been used to promote menstruation which has meant to use sparingly if pregnant. The essential oils are extracted by steam distillation from the leaves and stalks however many medicinal uses require extraction from the roots. From an aromatherapy perspective the fragrance is very stimulating yet calming in total effect.


 

 This is a great video for learning about which insects actually help your garden. Instead of spraying your garden with some harmful pesticide, why not let some beneficial insects do the job for you?

If you treat them well, they may just stick around for years to come!

In Beneficial Insect Gardening Video 1  Dr. Milton Ganyard covers
  • Convergent lady beetle
  • Assassin bugs
  • Golden eyed lacewing
  • Earwigs

In many cases it’s the larvae of the insects that eat up the harmful insects. Stay tuned for the second beneficial insect video 2.







Be sure to watch more of Dr. Ganyard's videos on our site.

Jeff Yentzer narrates this video on how to use common mulch material, organically decomposed in the forest or tree area,  as an organic soil enhancement for your garden.   Best of all it's a no cost, safe, healthy way to raise vegetable and herb plants for your consumption.



How To Grow Your Organically Raised Ichiban Eggplants

    








 



  1. Plant your Ichiban eggplant in your garden or into a large container two weeks after the last frost.  We always do HerbFest weekend after April 15 which is suppose to be the last frost date.  If it does frost then cover your eggplant over night and remove the covering in the a.m. before gets too hot.   Wait for the soil to reach temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold temperatures damage the plant and can possibly kill it.  Water your Ichiban eggplant before transplanting, and also water the bottom of hole you are transplanting it into. Use a transplanting fork or flat stick to remove sprouts from flats. Plant Ichiban eggplants where the will be exposed to a full day of sunlight, 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart in rows 3 feet apart, or plant two per large container.