Coriander Seeds

Cilantro is like the Energizer Bunny of herbs. Just when you think it's done supplying you with tons and tons of tastiness from it's leaves and stems, it turns it's attention to producing hoards of seeds and giving you lots and lots of coriander. Yep, it's 2 spices in 1 ... Cilantro AND Coriander. I've been harvesting handful after handful of cilantro throughout the summer and spent today gathering up it's seeds for the winter.

You Say Coriander, I Say Cilantro

Here in the US, we generally refer to the leaves of the herb 'Coriandrum sativum' as Cilantro and the seeds of the plant as Coriander. However, in other parts of the world (especially in the UK), the plant is referred to as Coriander and the seeds as Coriander seeds. I'll admit that the Brit's tend to make more sense with that, and I wonder how many people here in the US think that Cilantro and Coriander come from different plants?

To make things even more confusing, Cilantro and Coriander also have quite different tastes, aromas, and flavors. The herb Cilantro (sometimes referred to as Chinese Parsley) has a somewhat citrus-y flavor and it often used in Asian and Latin American dishes. Coriander, on the other hand, has a sweeter and milder flavor. Coriander seeds can be used whole or ground into a powder and are often used in Latin American and Indian dishes. Coriander also is a main ingredient in many curry spice mixes.

Growing Cilantro & Coriander

Coriandrum sativum is a relatively easy herb to grow. It needs full sun and well drained soil, but otherwise, it's not really picky.  It does tend to do better in cooler weather and can bolt (or go to seed) quickly as the summer progresses. So, it's a good idea to plant cilantro in successive plantings to try to extend your harvest time as much as possible. You'll especially want to have cilantro ready as your tomatoes and peppers start producing (think SALSA!!).

Cilantro easily re-seeds itself and as the (Coriander) seeds fall to the ground, you'll probably notice baby Cilantro plants pop up throughout the summer and (hopefully!) the next spring too. As the seeds mature, they will start to turn brown and dry out. To harvest the coriander seeds, cut the base of the plant or the stems and place the seed heads into a paper bag to dry for a few days. Then, simply shake the bag a bit and the seeds should easily fall from the stems. Coriander seeds should be stored in air tight containers and kept in a cool and dry location.


Cilantro is a flat leaved herb that looks a lot like parsley.
To harvest Cilantro, cut the stems near the ground continuously in the cooler months of spring and summer.

Coriander Seeds in the Garden

Once the weather starts to heat up, Cilantro may be quick to bolt and will readily flower and produce seeds.

Coriander Seeds

Coriander seeds can be harvested when they turn brown and start to dry.

Oct 19 2014
Posted in: Herbs

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