It's safe to say that cilantro is one of the most polarizing herbs in the world. While some people can't get enough of its unique, citrusy flavour, others think it tastes foul, more like soap or dirt. So what is it about this herb that causes such strong reactions? Is there really something about cilantro that makes it taste so bad to some people? Well, according to the science there is! In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the research on cilantro aversion and try to figure out why so many people can't stand it.
What Is Cilantro?
Before we get into the science, let's learn some more about this divisive herb. Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an annual herb in the Apiaceae family. It's native to regions of Europe, Africa, and Asia, but it's now grown all over the world. The leaves and stems of the cilantro plant are used as an herb in many cuisines. Cilantro has a bright, citrusy flavour that's often used to add a freshness to dishes. It's commonly used in Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine.
Interestingly, while cilantro is often used as an herb, it's actually a fruit! The seeds of the cilantro plant are known as coriander seeds, which are often used as a spice. Coriander seeds have a slightly sweet, nutty flavour. So if you don't like the taste of cilantro, you might still enjoy its seeds!
The Science Behind Cilantro Aversion
Now that we know a little bit more about cilantro, let's dive into the science behind why some people hate it. A study published in the journal Flavour found that cilantro aversion is actually a genetic trait. The study looked at different populations around the world and found that cilantro aversion is more common in people of East Asian descent. The study also found that cilantro aversion is more common in women than men.
So why is cilantro aversion more common in certain populations? Some scientists believe that it has to do with our evolutionary history. They think that cilantro aversion is a result of our ancestors' exposure to certain toxins and parasites. These toxins and parasites would have been found in plants that resemble cilantro, so our ancestors developed a dislike for the herb as a way to avoid these toxins and parasites.
The Bottom Line
If you're one of the many people who can't stand the taste of cilantro, you can take comfort in knowing that there may in fact be a scientific reason for it: our evolutionary history. So, the next time someone tries to tell you that you just need to acquire a taste for it, you can tell them that it's not that simple! Whether you love or hate cilantro, there's no denying that it's a polarizing herb. And now, thanks to science, we may finally understand why.
Whether you’re a cilantro lover or hater, you’ll certainly find something to enjoy on the Press Market menu! See what we have to offer here.