You say Cilantro, I say Culantro. Why? Because Culantro is not Cilantro. Eryngium foetidum has long leaves with tapered tips and serrated edges. And Cilantro, Coriandrum sativum L. has bright green leaves and stems that resembles flat-leaf parsley. One detail is the taste; the flavor is similar, but stronger than Cilantro.
Culantro is rich in iron, carotene, riboflavin and calcium; it is better suited to being frozen than the more delicate leaves of cilantro. This plant is widely used as food flavoring and seasoning herb for dishes and chutney in the Caribbean; it is popular in Asia for food use. Puerto Rico uses it extensively in stews, soups, and beans.
Eryngium foetidum is a tropical perennial and annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is native to Mexico and South America but is cultivated worldwide. It is relatively unknown in the United States, and is often mistaken for its relative Cilantro. It is also known by many other names, such as Fitweed, Recao-Puerto Rican coriander, saw leaf herb, Mexican coriander, Shado beni (Trinidad), spirit weed (Jamaica) Chadron benee (Dominica), Alcapate (El Salvador), Cilantro habanero, Cilantro extranjero (Mexico),and well over 65 more names in different parts of the world. Culantro is an herb with a pungent odor; the leaves have toothed margins and they grow in a basal rosette pattern. It grows best under moist, shaded conditions near cultivated areas.
Sofrito Criollo Ingredients 1 pack of fresh Culantro, chopped 1 small onion, peeled and chopped 8 to 12 cloves fresh garlic, minced 1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped 1 red bell pepper or 3 aji dulce (sweet chili peppers), seeded and chopped 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro (leaves and tenders stems only), chopped 1/2 cup fresh oregano (loosely packed), optional Instructions In a food process or a blender, add the onions, garlic and olive oil. Pulse for about 30 seconds or until mixture is a white puree. Repeat, adding peppers. Repeat again adding fresh herbs. The final sofrito should be somewhat smooth. Sofrito is ready to use as a fresh bouillon base and keeps in the refrigerator for a few days. It can also be frozen in an airtight jar or into smaller portions, such as ice cubes, for convenient use.