Friday, October 17, 2014

Coriander Harvest Time

It's only recently that I started using coriander in my cooking and I've found out I love the flavor.  So this year I decided to harvest my own.

Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant, Coriandrum sativum.  Lots of people don't know that they come from the same plant, and in the US we tend to call the green leaves cilantro and the seed of the plant coriander.  In England the leaves are called coriander also so if you have a recipe make sure you know whether it is referring to the leaf or seed.

So on this beautiful Fall day with the trees in all their glory I basked in the glow of the red, orange and gold shining on the garden and harvested the coriander.

In order to have the seeds you need to let some of your cilantro bolt and go to seed.  That's not difficult, and if you're like me the cilantro seems to bolt when I'm not looking!  So let a few plants flower and then the flowers will turn to seeds.  You want to make sure that the seeds are brown, as the picture above, not green when you harvest them.  The green seeds will be bitter and also contain too much moisture to store for any length of time successfully.

I like the paper bag method of harvesting seeds and use the same method for coriander that I do with dill.  Once the seeds are brown, I cut the stems and place them seeds and all in a brown paper sandwich bag.  You can use a larger brown shopping bag if you like or a plastic bag, whatever works for you.  I then shake the stems and the seeds pretty much just fall off.  For those that don't, I just rub them on the stem and they fall off.

Coriander seeds are small and easily drop all over the place.  I like to shake the stem just a little bit over the garden when I cut it so the seeds will self-sow for more cilantro plants next year.  The harvesting can be a bit messy so who knows where the cilantro will show up?

I also save a few seeds for planting next year, just in case the self-sowing doesn't happen but I usually find cilantro and dill popping up all over the garden in the Spring which I love.

So plan to harvest your own coriander next year!