cilatro on a plate
What Is The Difference Between Cilantro And Culantro?
Cilantro and culantro are both herbs that belong to the Apiaceae family, which includes parsley and carrots. However, they differ in appearance, aroma, and flavor.
Cilantro is an annual plant, living for only one year, and originates from the Mediterranean. Culantro is a biennial, lasting for two years, native to the Americas and West Indies.
The most obvious difference is appearance. Cilantro has rounded leaves that are soft and scalloped, while culantro's leaves are long, thick, and tough with serrated edges.
Cilantro has a bright, citrus-like smell that can be easily overpowered, whereas culantro has an earthy, bitter aroma reminiscent of cilantro, but far more intense and pungent.
Similarly, their flavors differ: Cilantro offers a gentle, citrusy taste with a touch of sweetness, while culantro has a stronger, more pronounced pungency.
Cilantro's citrus and sweet flavors are best showcased when it is used raw, making it a popular garnish. Conversely, culantro's stronger flavor can endure high-heat cooking.