Growing cilantro in the home garden yields a double crop! Not only do you get delicious cilantro to use in the kitchen, but if you’re patient, you can also harvest the seeds that develop, which is the spice we call coriander. Coriander can hold its own in the kitchen for seasoning purposes, but they can also be saved for replanting cilantro.
Once you grow cilantro, you may never have to buy seeds again!
Why Harvest Coriander?
Once cilantro plants begin to bloom, the taste of the leaves can be affected. At this point, you can put the plant up, to make room for something else or even a reseeding of cilantro. But you can also choose to let your cilantro go to seed and develop those lovely seed heads that yield coriander.
Coriander, which in some countries is what the entire cilantro plant is called, in the US is typically the seed portion of the cilantro plant. Coriander can be ground and used as a spice or toasted and added to a variety of dishes.
Harvesting coriander at home is beneficial in that you know exactly where your coriander came from, it gives you an endless supply since it can simply be replanted, and the process of allowing the cilantro plant to bloom is a food source for pollinators in your garden.
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Ways to Harvest Coriander
There are several ways to harvest coriander depending on your space and time. It really isn’t difficult; simply choose the method that works best for you.
- Dry Coriander on the Plant: The first option once your cilantro plant begins to bloom is to let nature take its course. This simply means to let the plant bloom, produce the coriander, and dry out on the plant itself. Once the coriander is a light brown color and dry, use your fingers to gently pull them off of the plant.
- Bag Dry Method: If you want the cilantro plant to come out of the ground sooner, then cut the stems containing the coriander once they’re developed, but not yet fully brown. Place them in a brown paper bag and place in a cool, dry place. Allow the coriander to dry out in the bag until brown and then store as you usually would for spices or seeds.
How to Use Coriander
Coriander can be used in a variety of dishes in the kitchen especially Latin and Asian dishes. It is typically ground before use, so you’ll want a good spice grinder or mortar and pestle. For ideas on ways to use coriander in the kitchen, check out this full article from Masterclass all about How to Use Coriander in the Kitchen.
For use in the garden, simply keep the coriander in a cool, dry place until ready to plant. Cilantro plants typically enjoy cooler (but not cold) temps, not the dead heat of summer, which can encourage bolting. Check out my complete guide on How to Grow Cilantro.
How to Store Coriander
As with all seeds and spices, store coriander, whether for cooking or planting, in a cool dry place. Clean glass jars are a great way to store coriander that will be used in the kitchen. Paper envelopes or other storage methods are perfect for storing garden seeds. Here’s my full post on Easy Seed Storage Ideas if you need a way to store coriander.
Frequently asked coriander questions
- Can you harvest coriander seeds without killing the plant? Yes, you definitely can harvest the coriander without killing the plant, though there’s no need to keep the plant once the coriander has been removed. At this point, the stem would have grown thick and woody and many of the leaves are no longer edible.
- How many times can you harvest coriander? Just once per plant, though you’ll get 40-50 seeds from a small cilantro plant.