How to Harvest and Dry Coriandercomments (6) August 22nd, 2009
Most of us go to great lengths to keep our veggies and herbs from bolting. We shade our lettuces and pick the flowers off our basil plants, and if we’re really ambitious, we practice succession sowing so we can have a steady supply of fresh herbs even in the hot summer months.
For me, the exception to this rule is cilantro. Cilantro is one of those herbs I put in the ground and then mostly ignore until about midsummer, when it has flowered, flopped over, and gone to seed. That’s when I think cilantro is at its best, because who can argue that coriander is pretty much the best spice ever?
I like my coriander in large quantities. I use it in homemade hummus and falafel, in sautés, and sometimes even on plain pasta. It's also pretty delicious in this spiced nuts recipe from FineCooking.com.
Here's how to harvest and dry coriander:
1. Wait until the cilantro plant has bolted and then started to dry and turn brown. The fruits should come away from the plant easily.
|Not ready yet--still a bit too green.
||Coriander ready for harvesting.|
2. Cut the plant at its base, taking care that the fruit doesn't scatter. If the fruit does scatter, your cilantro plant will probably reseed--more free cilantro plants next year.
3. Place the plant in a paper bag and shake the bag so the seeds fall off the plant. If the seeds don't fall off easily, place the bag in a warm, dry area for a few days, then try again.
4. Pick over your coriander to be sure all the stems are removed.
5. Coriander that isn’t fully dried tastes bitter. If your coriander needs further drying, spread the seeds on a baking sheet. Preheat your oven to its lowest temperature, then turn your oven off. Place the baking sheet in the oven for five minutes. This should remove any excess moisture.
6. Store your coriander in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place.