Cilantro Fest on August 18

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Cilantro has been named 2017 Herb of the Year by the International Herb Association and the McLean County Master Gardeners will be celebrating the harvest at the Illinois State University Horticulture Center on August 18 at 11 a.m. They invite the public for cooking demonstrations and tastings of some of their favorite recipes using this flavorful and tasty herb.

Cilantro is a unique herb in that the leaves are harvested and eaten fresh and the fruits are dried and made into the spice known as coriander.

Many associate cilantro with salsa, which now ranks as America's No. 1 condiment. A testament to the growing popularity of this strong-flavored herb, a shopper may not have even found salsa in stores 30 years ago. Still, some people find this herb unappetizing and thinks it tastes like soap. A study University of Chicago study found that DNA shapes our judgment of cilantro. Most of us would say it tastes fresh and lemony or lime-like flavor.

Cilantro is a cool-weather tender perennial that can be planted after the first frost-free date. It produces leaves in a rosette about 6 to 12 inches long. When temperatures rise, the plant will bolt, producing flowering stalks 2 to 3 feet tall.

What does your DNA say about cilantro? Join the Master Gardeners to find out. There is a small $3 registration fee. Plese go to

to register.