If a recipe has ever called for a bunch of cilantro, or better yet, if you’ve ever been asked to pick up a bunch of cilantro on your way home and you’ve found yourself wondering what is “a bunch of cilantro,” don’t worry, you’re in good company.
To be honest, you already know a bunch is an amount of something. So, in this case, you’re not being asked to pick up a single stem of cilantro. However, how much is a bunch? Well, that’s a legitimate question to ask.
A bunch of cilantro is a group of stems of cilantro that are bundled and sold as a unit instead of selling cilantro stem by stem. What shouldn’t be surprising is that a bunch isn’t an exact measurement.
If a bunch sounds like, essentially, a handful, you’d be correct. So, the amount in a bunch will vary. That being said, most vendors will have their bunches of cilantro weigh between 3 – 4 ounces.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive deeper into the world of cilantro, bunches, and other commonly asked questions related to both.
What is Cilantro?
Cilantro is an herb. More specifically, it’s a popular herb that comes from the plant Coriandrum sativum. It’s commonly used in many types of cuisine from all over the world. It’s particularly popular in dishes from the Mediterranean, Latin America, and Asia.
The leaves and stems that make cilantro, besides their usage as a herb, are also often used as a garnish.
One of the things cilantro is most known for is its distinctive flavor, which tends to be either hit or miss with most people. Some find it interesting and pleasing, while others find it off-putting or downright disgusting.
Harsh, but if you’ve ever met someone who hates cilantro, they tend to really hate cilantro.
Cilantro is typically used fresh or dried. Often, it’s chopped up and added to dishes as a main ingredient, such as in curry and salsa.
What is a “Bunch” When It Comes to Food?
As mentioned in the intro, sometimes the best way to think of a “bunch” is as a handful. More specifically, though, a bunch is a loose bundle of a specific type of food that can be carried away in your hand.
The size of the bunch usually depends on what kind of food you’re carrying away, and the context in which it’s being used. For example, a bunch of cilantro is a group of stems bundled together and sold as a unit.
A bunch of grapes is usually more than a handful of grapes but can still be carried away in one hand if they’re still connected in clusters together by a stem, like you can buy in the store.
Clearly, a bunch of cilantro and a bunch of grapes are not the same in terms of measurement. What they do have in common is they can be hand carried.
As far as context, a bunch of cilantro is usually used for recipes or as a garnish. A bunch of grapes is usually used in recipes like smoothies, but more often than not, grapes are bought and eaten on their own. Very few people buy cilantro to eat it by itself.
Other Commonly Asked Questions
What Other Foods Come in Bunches?
Many types of fruits and vegetables are often sold or referred to as “bunches.” Remember, these items are usually bundled together, held together by a pre-existing stem, or still have their original greens attached.
- Grapes (attached at the stem)
- Bananas (attached at the stem)
- Carrots (original greens still attached)
- Radishes (original greens still attached)
- Scallions (original greens still attached)
- Parsley (bundled)
- Kale (attached at the stem)
This is not a comprehensive list, but it does show you how many foods are sold in bunches, and it’s a normal way of selling produce in a grocery store or market. And everything can be carried away in your hand, for what it’s worth.
Cilantro is a Key Ingredient in What Types of Dishes?
Cilantro is considered a key ingredient in many dishes from around the world. Those dishes can include:
- Various Soups and Stews
Cilantro is used in a wide variety of dishes and the above list is far from exhaustive.
Where is Cilantro Originally From?
The exact origins of cilantro are pretty much unknown. However, it’s been picked or harvested as a food and herb, including medicinal herbs, for thousands of years in several different regions, such as the Mediterranean, Central Asia, and the Middle East. This is one of the reasons it’s difficult to identify one specific place of origin.
Through trade, cilantro was brought to other parts of the world, including other parts of Europe, Africa, and North and South America, where it has proven it can flourish in many types of climates.
You Mentioned Cilantro is a Medicinal Herb. Is Cilantro Used in Medicine?
Cilantro has been used in traditional medicine for about as long as it’s been around. It is believed to help in such things as aiding digestion, acting as an anti-inflammatory, and even as a calming agent.
Today, it can be considered an herbal supplement. However, it’s not considered “medicine” and, as in all things, you should always consult a physician when it comes to your health.
How is Cilantro Related to Coriander?
Both cilantro and coriander come from the same plant: Coriandrum sativum. Where cilantro is made up of the leaves and stems of the plant and is used as an herb, coriander comes from the seeds of the plant and is used as a spice.
Why is Cilantro Sometimes Called Chinese Parsley?
Cilantro is very popular in Asian cuisine, particularly dishes from China, and has been for thousands of years. It’s used in such dishes as hot and sour soup, stir-fries, and dumplings. It’s also a popular garnish, like parsley, in Chinese cuisine, hence the moniker Chinese parsley.