Here's why you don't like cilantro

Fresh coriander leaves provide, according to those who appreciate it, a particularly distinctive herbaceous flavor. They are commonly used in Oriental cuisine, Asian cuisine, especially Indian cuisine, as well as South American cuisine, to flavor dishes, salads, sauces and soups. Coriander seeds are used whole or ground as a spice and add a slightly lemony flavor to marinades and curries, among other things. As versatile as it is in cooking, coriander is far from unanimously appreciated.

A taste of soap

The rejection of cilantro can be attributed to several factors, including genetics. If you are one of the fans of this herb, this will surprise you, but for some people, coriander has a strong taste of soap, earth, and even crushed bugs, which is particularly unpleasant. This last comparison is not a coincidence since the etymology of the word “coriander” goes back to the Greek “koriandron”, from “kori” which means “bug” in reference to the smell of fresh coriander leaves when they are crushed. between the fingers. According to several scientific studies, this aversion is linked to an OR6A2 gene, an olfactory receptor which plays an important role in the perception of aldehydes present in coriander, but also in the composition of soap. People who have a specific variation of this gene are thought to be more sensitive to these particular aldehydes, which explains why they find the taste of cilantro unpleasant, even soapy.

Geographical differences

Repulsion towards cilantro is also said to be associated with geographic regions and culinary culture. The results of a study* carried out in 2012 by researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada confirm that coriander is generally better accepted in certain regions of the world, such as the Middle East, where only 3% of people eat it. dislike, compared to other regions like Europe and Asia, where dislike rates are higher, 26 and 12 percent, respectively.

If you're one of those people who can't stand the taste or smell of cilantro, you now know that this is due to genetic variations that make you more sensitive to certain flavor compounds.

* Prevalence of aversion to coriander (Coriandrum sativum) in different ethnocultural groups

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