In today's column I write about the flavor of fresh coriander leaves, and how it is that they can be eaten with pleasure in much of the world but taste inedibly soapy to many people in the U.S.
In the column I don't mention the recent study from Reyes et al (last reference below), which reports that cilantro leaf extracts damage DNA, and therefore that cilantro could be a long-term health hazard. These are very preliminary findings and no reason for fans to give up cilantro, but it's a subject worth following as more information comes in.
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Smallfield, B.M. et al. Effects of postharvest treatments on yield and composition of coriander herb oil. J. Agric. Food Chemistry 1994, 42, 354-359.
Cadwallader, K.R. et al. Characteristic aroma components of the cilantro mimics. ACS Symposium Series 908. American Chemical Society, 2005, 117-128.
Eyres, G. et al. Identification of character-impact odorants in coriander and wild coriander leaves using gas chromatography-olfactometry (GCO) and comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography – time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC – TOFMS). J. Separation Science 2005, 28, 1061 – 1074.
Quynh, C.T.T. et al. Influence of the isolation procedure on coriander leaf volatiles with some correlation to the enzymatic activity. J. Agric. Food Chemistry. 2010.
Reyes, M. R. et al. Mutagenicity and safety evaluation of water extract of coriander sativum leaves. J. Food Science 2010, 75:T6-T12.