Coriander: the harvest that can wait

Bowl of coriander seeds

Pulled from the garden at the end of the season and left to dry out fully for a good few weeks, our coriander has finally arrived on the kitchen island for final harvesting. I know it would be far easier to find a large bag and leave the plants suspended inside of it, but it’s surprisingly relaxing to pluck the small, dried seeds and drop them into a bowl. My husband started the process a while back, and I was reminded to pick up the task again when it came time to close our screened in porch for the season.

I wasn’t organized enough to save any of the leaves of these plants, known as cilantro (or Chinese parsley), but I did season many meals with them during the summer months. Cilantro is one of my favourite fresh herbs, and coriander is definitely a favourite store cupboard choice. I love that they come from the same plant, one that is delightfully easy to grow.

The Farmer’s Almanac has a good page on coriander and cilantro; in spite of this plant’s preference for loamy soil, it did well for us in a patch that is still heavily defined by clay (pun fully intended).

This year I scattered some seeds in my north-facing kitchen garden, the one I run to for greens and herbs as I’m preparing a meal in the warm months. The plants grew very happily there, next to a variety of lettuces and speckled cranberry beans. I’ll try to remember that for next spring when I’m considering placement again. Perhaps next year I’ll even manage to save some of the cilantro leaves so that I can enjoy their flavour through the winter. For this winter, I have the coriander seeds.

Dried coriander plants

10 thoughts on “Coriander: the harvest that can wait

  1. I know what you mean about sitting there removing seeds from dried flower heads, something relaxing about it. I’m wondering how different the taste of them is to ones that I would normally buy in the shops. I say every year I’m going to do more herbs…… and somehow I kind of fizzle out!

    1. Oh Claire, I know what you mean about the promise to ourselves each year to do more of whatever it may be. I always let myself down in that way, every single year. When it comes to herbs, I think it’s the fresh stuff where we really notice the difference in taste, but having dried herbs makes me feel more organized. Silly!

    1. When you hear that clay is ultimately the richest soil (it’s just that it needs breaking up with sand and other organic material to make it more friendly), I guess it makes sense. Sadly, the organic coriander seeds that I bought (from The Cottage Gardener here in Canada) don’t state a variety. I think you could probably give any variety a go!

  2. I’m surprised it did well on the north side, as I would have thought it needed full sun. I haven’t grown cilantro in years mind you, and back then, I never thought of letting it go to seed to become coriander. That looks like a goodly amount, as well!

  3. We grow coriander but I’ve never thought to harvest and pluck the seeds! Sounds like a job I could entice the ten year old to take on. I’m not against child labor when required.
    PS. Speckled cranberry beans! I’m officially intrigued!

    1. Oh, I like the child labour thought, Sas! If you could convince them that it’s as fun as breaking those plastic packaging bubbles, maybe they’d volunteer 🙂 I’ll have to do a post about the speckled cranberry beans.

  4. A good project for this time of year. My wife did the same thing. Pulled hers up and dried it and has been harvesting the seeds. She’s already finished the coriander and yesterday she was working on the dill. I love the ways we transition from season to season.

    1. It truly is a good project for this time of year, and a very satisfying one. So nice to have something that won’t threaten to rot before we have time to deal with it properly, unlike so much else that comes out of the garden! I haven’t grown dill for a few years, that’s a great reminder for me.

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