Harvesting coriander seed

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I love coriander when it goes to flower in the heat here. Not just for the beautiful flowers which attract beneficial insects into the veg beds, but because soon there follows an abundance of coriander seed. If you want to see the transition of this beautiful herb, there is a great blog post which shows the stages of coriander in photos.

This year I wanted to try harvesting it, so I tried two techniques.

Method 1: We picked a big chunk of the plant (yes this is only part of the plant – it was huge) with seeds that were still a little green, picked them off by hand, and put them on a tray on baking paper to dry for a few weeks.  Picking the seeds off was quite time laborious!

Method 1: Using the food net to catch the stray bits while we hand-picked some still-green seeds.

My daughter loved hand picking the seeds and was fastidious about making sure there were no extra bits, but if you don’t have a willing neat freak to help in this process, it could take you a very long time. A very very long time.

Method 2: I then netted up the plant to hang and dry, before removing the seeds by shaking and sort of roughing it up.

Method 2: hanging coriander. Almost expecting a giant butterfly to emerge from this cocoon!

The second method was much quicker, but messier and the seeds had lots of little leafy bits, so they needed picking through.

A very coriander Christmas!

We saved some for ourselves, but also packaged some up as a unique Christmas gift…

Christmas is all about spices – or at least – it should be!  Coriander is a beautiful ancient spice with an interesting history and mythology. Perhaps you haven’t you heard the story of the fourth wise man, who was actually a wise woman, and brought baby Jesus some coriander seeds? Ok, I made that up, but coriander is apparently mentioned in the Old Testament and far far back into the mists of time. So that means, well… it’s really very old.

We packaged our dried seeds up in an airtight container to keep them fresh.

A little spicy Christmas gift if coriander (and a bookmark)
A little spicy Christmas gift of coriander seeds(and a bookmark)

We gave one to my daughters first school teacher as a Christmas gift,  with a tag attached with three ideas for use:

  • use whole in curries, soups and broths
  • toast in a pan for a few minutes to release fragrance before adding to cooking
  • soak for 10 minutes, then grind with a mortar and pestle
  • plant in soil to grow your own coriander plant

There are plenty of other techniques for use too. Yes, I do have a jar of whole coriander seeds in my cupboard already, but these are organic, untreated and just feel better for the effort. I might have to grind up both and see which had the better aroma. Results of this experiment to follow!

A very coriander Christmas!
Wishing you a very coriander Christmas!
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