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Collecting Coriander Seed

August 26, 2011

As the summer days have been unendingly long and hot, many of my cool weather crops (among  others) have started to bolt (flower). While for some things this is sad (broccoli, spinach) for others it is perfect, like cilantro, because it means that I can start collecting the seeds for spices and planting next summer. I have planted cilantro successively throughout the summer so that we always have some ready to eat, and the first few patches I planted are the ones that have bolted- this long summer heat pushing them past their prime. First, pretty little white flowers will pop up (above), then those little flowers will give way to tiny, green pods (below). At this point you have two choices. You can either (1) cut the stems with these seed pods and hang them upside down to dry or (2) leave them on the plant to dry out on their own. I choose option two, since it requires zero work on my end. Once the seeds are light brown in color, I’ll usually clip them and lay them out on my picnic table for a day or two in the sun to make sure they’re totally dried out. If you opt to leave them on the plant to dry, just make sure you keep a close eye on them- once they get dry enough they’ll begin to fall off the plant on their own.

Once they are totally dry, grab a container and rub the seed pods off the stems between your fingers. I’ve also heard that you can drop the whole thing into a paper bag and shake the daylights out of it and the seeds will fall off, but this hasn’t worked for me as well as doing it by hand.

After I’ve collected the seeds I usually will toss them all into a fine mesh colander to help get rid of any left over chaff, rolling the seeds around in the colander with my fingers. This year I’ll be keeping some to use as a spice, known as coriander seed, and package some up to use as seed in the garden next spring. I’ll most likely give some as a gift too, both as the spice and as the seeds. There are a few tutorials and free templates for cute, handmade seed packets here and here.

Have you saved seeds before? Any tips? Any good recipes using coriander seed? How is your garden holding up to the heat?


5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kami permalink
    August 26, 2011 2:42 pm

    I LOVE saute-ing chicken and asparagas with coriander, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil!

  2. August 27, 2011 12:57 pm

    Hi Alicia!
    You might be interested in Ruth Stouts. Look for her gardening advice on YouTube. I was amazed at her skills and talents. She’s ninety some years old.

    • August 29, 2011 11:24 am

      Thanks Karen! I’ll be sure to look into her…esp b/c something is attacking my kale today. Her name sounds familiar.

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