Why Cilantro Is A Great Herb For Baby Food

cilantro baby food strainer

Cilantro, also known as coriander in other countries, is thought to have health benefits that are particularly good for baby. For this reason, cilantro was the first herb that I introduced to my baby in my homemade baby food experiments. Introducing your baby to a wider variety of flavors is certainly one advantage of making baby food yourself, and cilantro is one ingredient that is not often found in those jars on the shelf.

Health Benefits of Cilantro

Cilantro is considered a great food additive for babies because of its potential to aide in healthy digestion. As an herb, cilantro is used as a natural remedy to relieve gas, bloating, nausea, and indigestion. All good things for baby, for sure. Cilantro is also a natural source of fiber, although this is a fairly minor point because the amount of fiber you obtain from cilantro is relatively small.

Cilantro is also a good source of phytonutrients and antioxidants that may not be in great abundance in milk or formula. Specifically, cilantro leaves contain phenols, which prevent oxidative damage, particularly in the gut. Other important nutrients provided by cilantro include vitamins A, C, K, and zinc.

Finally, cilantro has been shown to have antimicrobial properties and may specifically act against integral Salmonella proteins. There is additional evidence that its antimicrobial properties may also work against E. coli and MRSA. Perhaps we all need a bit more cilantro in our diet.

Cilantro Taste Perception

Of note, some people hate the taste of cilantro and it is thought that there is a genetic component (attributed to genetic variants of specific olfactory receptor genes) that causes some fraction of the population to perceive the flavor of cilantro to be similar to the taste of soap. There is also a great article in the New York Times that further explores the neuroscience behind cilantro taste perception.

Quick Baby Food Recipe with Cilantro

The most obvious way to use cilantro in baby food is with avocado. I first introduced my baby to cilantro using the following recipe once he was already comfortably enjoying avocado on a regular basis. I waited to begin introducing herbs and spices until he was 8 months old, after he had become accustomed to more traditional purees. I waited until 9 months to add lime juice into the recipe after he was introduced to more acidic fruits and vegetables.

For 2 servings:

1 avocado
1 Tbsp of cilantro leaves
Squeeze from ½ of a lime (after 9 months)

Blend ingredients in a Ninja, blender, food processor, or whatever until smooth (or your desired consistency for your baby’s age) and viola! Your baby is now on their way to becoming a guacamole connoisseur. I generally only serve half of this recipe to baby, and the other half I reserve for myself to have on toast since avocado does not save well.

Other potential foods to pair with cilantro: chicken, fish, melon, corn, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, potato, brown rice.

How to Store Cilantro

When I buy a bunch of cilantro, there is always way too much of it to use before it goes bad, so I freeze it with little loss of flavor or potency. I always start by picking individual leaves off of the stem and then wash them thoroughly.

The typical way to freeze cilantro is to toss it in a little olive oil (the exact amount depends on how much cilantro you are freezing), then lay it flat in a Ziploc bag, making sure to seal the bag with as little air as possible and place it flat in the freezer. For baby, I was not introducing olive oil just yet the first time I froze cilantro for him, so I just omitted the olive oil from the process, and it worked out just fine.

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24 Replies to “Why Cilantro Is A Great Herb For Baby Food”

  1. Cilantro is my favorite and I put it in just about everything!

    My kids munch it right off our plants in the summer and love it too!

    #glboalbloggigng
    kristin mccarthy recently posted…Politics and Princesses – Transgender Plea – Let Us Pee!My Profile

    1. Cilantro plants would be awesome! Good idea for the garden.

  2. I didn’t know this about cilantro. Wish I had been aware in my baby food making days. Could still just cook with it. I don’t use it much but I don’t hate it. Maybe I’ll pick some up and see what I can add it to. #GlobalBlogging

    1. Yeah, I definitely feel like I should be cooking more with it now. It’s great in coconut curries too.

  3. I am sadly one of the population that thinks cilantro tastes like soap. #DreamTeam
    Heather Keet recently posted…The iPhone ruins lives…My Profile

  4. Coriander is my favourite herb! I had no idea you could freeze it, so thank you for that advice! #DreamTeam
    justsayingmum recently posted…It’s Still My Time TooMy Profile

  5. Woweee! We didn’t know about all the health benefits of coriander! Off to buy some now x #DreamTeam x

    1. I know, right? Mexican food is totally healthy now, I’m pretty sure. 🙂

  6. That IS good to know. I’ve been making a chickpea, tomato, and spinach dish with coriander for our little girl since she was 8 months – she loves it, if all else fails I know she’ll eat that.
    So glad she’s not one of the unfortunates for whom it tastes yuk! #globalblogging

    1. Sounds like a great recipe! Do you have it on your blog somewhere?

  7. I absolutely love coriander. I rip leaves off of the plant and eat them and I love the smell too! Whenever I make curries, I put a whole handful in, I can’t get enough of it.
    I’ll definitely be introducing it to my baby in a few months. #ThatFridayLinky
    Autumn’s Mummy recently posted…Think before you formula-bash My Profile

    1. Yes, it’s really great. I love it in curries and Thai food too. After talking to a few of you, I think I’m going to have to invest in growing some myself too!

  8. Amazing! Thanks for this tip, I had no idea cilantro was good for babies but will give this a go! Especially for his digestion which he sometimes has problems with. Thanks so much for sharing with #stayclassymama!

  9. I have never heard of this really intersting post Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

  10. I didn’t know about all the benefits that coriander has. Sadly, I can’t stand it. I am not sure what it is about it, but even a teeny bit turns my tummy. Hubby and my little one love it though! Thank you for sharing with the #DreamTeam x
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…Inspire Me – Vicky, Millie’s Beach HutsMy Profile

  11. We grow our own and use a lot of herbs in our food. I have never thought of adding to baby food… Such a clever thing to do… I might use that recipe for myself, on a slice of toast! 🙂 Thanks for sharing! #globalblogging

    1. It definitely works for me. I always steal half! 🙂

  12. I have to be honest, I’ve not heard of cilantro. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky
    Emily recently posted…My Sunday PhotoMy Profile

    1. It’s coriander in a lot of the English-speaking world. 🙂

  13. No way! I would never have thought this and quite honestly don’t think I have ever given my daughter cilantro and she is 4 this summer. Thinking I may have messed up there. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub xoxo
    Talya recently posted…5 psychological benefits of youth sportMy Profile

  14. I bloody love coriander and add it to most things! It gives food such a kick! I love adding it to houmous, salsa, rice, curries, whatever I’m cooking in the slow cooker… pairs so well with citrus flavours too! #coolmumclub

  15. The only problem is my two go nuts if I sprinkle ‘green’ on or in anything!! #coolmumclub
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…5 of the best no-cook baby weaning foodsMy Profile

  16. This is my favorite herb by far! My kids (3 of 4) anyways are big fans too!

    #ablogginggoodtime
    kristin mccarthy recently posted…Hump-Day Laughs on Red TricycleMy Profile

  17. Great recipe idea. Thank you for sharing with us on #ablogginggoodtime
    Catie: An imperfect mum recently posted…#MummyShot Week 11 RoundupMy Profile

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