The Accidental Seed Saver: Cilantro & Coriander

When I came back from our trip to Montana, the sight of our overgrown, blooming garden brought so much joy to me. Though my friend swears that she has a black thumb (and not the black-like-dirt thumb, the black-like-death thumb), she faithfully watered my garden through the excessive heat warnings, and the only casualty was a single potted cilantro plant. I believe that this cilantro plant was even bolting as I left for Alaska. Fortuitous, indeed!

I had intended to begin trying my hand at saving seeds from different garden favorites next year. After all, this garden has been my first in years, so it seemed prudent to wait. As I stared at the dry, crispy husk of my cilantro plant, however, I had no desire to wait. I had failed to harvest any cilantro to dry and replenish my spice stocks, and I was not going to miss out on the coriander. Coriander is the seed that comes from the cilantro plant once it has flowered. If you harvest the seeds, you can either use them to replant your cilantro or to replenish your stock of coriander.

I had never harvested coriander before, and I can tell you that it’s embarrassingly easy now that I’ve done it.

(1) Let your cilantro plant die a crispy brown death under the blazing sun. Then uproot it and bring it to a good working space.

The Dead Cilantro Plant
The Dead Cilantro Plant

(2) Knock off the round seed pods; I found it very easy to just remove the seeds from the dead cilantro plant.

Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant and a tasty seasoning.
Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant–and a tasty seasoning.

(3) Remove any extra debris and store them in a dry place. Or, if you’re like me, your husband is so excited about the coriander you harvested this weekend that he’s putting it in the batch of beer he’s brewing on Tuesday. Good thing I planted another batch of cilantro!

My Coriander Harvest
My Coriander Harvest
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