Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Harvesting your Cilantro

Harvesting cilantro from a raised bed garden

Harvesting cilantro from a raised bed garden

Cilantro offers quick gratification: you can usually start harvesting stems and leaves three to four weeks from planting. All parts of the cilantro plant are edible, so don’t hesitate to use the stems in cooking. Be sure to snip off the top of the main stem as soon as you see flowers or seed heads forming to keep the plant full and bushy.

Try to use your freshly picked cilantro as soon as possible. The leaves are delicate and will wilt quickly; store them in a container in the fridge with the stems in water and it will last a couple of days. You can also freeze or dry your harvested cilantro. Put fresh cilantro into a sealed plastic bag and store in the freezer. To dry it, hang the cilantro upside-down in a warm place until it is fully dried, then store in an airtight container away from the light.

To harvest and store coriander seeds, cut off the seed heads when they begin to turn brown and place them in a paper bag. Hang the bag in a warm place until the plant has dried and the seeds fall off. Store the seeds in an airtight container away from the light. Note that coriander seeds are contained in a ridged, oval husk—usually two seeds per husk. When you’re ready to use the seeds, gently crush the husks to release them. If ground coriander is called for, you can grind it with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, as needed.

How do you harvest your cilantro and coriander seeds? Please tell us what your cilantro harvest entails.


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