Harvesting Coriander

by Daisy

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If you grow cilantro for its leaves and have never let any of it go to seed, you are missing out on Chapter 2 of this herb. Cilantro will flower (with a fragrance only its mother could love, maybe) then form seed pods. After the seeds pods have dried (in situ is recommended) gather them from the garden. Spread out a large sheet of paper and rub the pods off the stems.

This makes a big mess and much of the brittle, dry stems get rubbed off as well. What comes next is a sort of winnowing–gather the pods and stems into a pile. Most of the stem fragments gather at the top and can be lifted off. I do this a few times until only seed pods are left, almost.

I keep picking over them until they are truly stem free and dump the pods out onto a towel. The small, dusty fragments will fall into the terry cloth of the towel and get trapped. I skim off the seeds and do this another time or two on fresh toweling until the towel comes clean.

Store in a dry jar with a tight lid.


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tanya walton July 23, 2009 at 4:34 pm

I have coriander in my garden and although I have bought coriander seeds from store I have never thought to let mine go to seed…how weird is that!! It seems quite a long winded process but I may give it a try with the kids…I’m sure they would love the fiddly stuff!!

Alisha July 23, 2009 at 4:39 pm

i have always harvested mine by just pulling the seeds off the fallen bushes and rubbing as i go. i get almost-stem-free-seeds, so it’s a fairly short process. i LOVE fresh ground coriander! i usually toast it in a pan and grind it in a pepper type grinder as i need it. LOVE IT. i harvested my first batch just yesterday morning. . . 🙂

Tomato Lady July 23, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Alisha–Hey, no fair, that sounds much easier than my way!
You’re making my mouth water with that toasted coriander talk. I’m going to have to get out some Indian recipes, like, now!

Tomato Lady July 23, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Hi Tanya–Yes, a great project for kids. I started letting it go to seed by accident, or laziness, and it has been a happy accident!

Kathy July 24, 2009 at 10:47 am

This is so funny! I spent time researching this very thing yesterday as my cilantro has gone to seed. I still have time before it dries though. What I need are some recipes!

Donna January 11, 2010 at 4:49 am

Hi, I let mine go to seed by accident as well. One thing I noticed is many of the seeds had been destroyed by a seed weevil of some kind 🙁

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