Harvesting Coriander From Cilantro – A Multi-Use Garden Treat

By Texas Homesteader ~ 

Coriander is a delicious spice to use in your cooking. I grow and preserve coriander from my garden each year for FREE! Find out how. 

Coriander is just cilantro seed. See how I harvest, store and use it. #TexasHomesteader

Is Cilantro Seed Also Known As Coriander Spice?

Cilantro is a double-benefit plant to have in your garden. It’s both an herb AND a spice!

I use coriander in my cooking from time to time. But because I don’t use it often I’d hate to buy a bottle of coriander. It would just go stale before I could use the whole bottle. But luckily I don’t have to buy it.

You see, I always have cilantro in my garden. And cilantro seed is… coriander.

So I take advantage of this dual-purpose garden goodie and harvest coriander when the cilantro is done, typically around the end of May here in NE Texas. 

Cooking With Fresh Cilantro

To me, cilantro doesn’t retain its flavor at all when it’s dried. Some gardeners like to chop fresh cilantro, add olive oil & freeze it in ice cube trays to preserve the flavor.

But a cilantro-flavored oil cube is not how I’d cook with cilantro, so I don’t preserve it that way either. Therefore I can’t speak to the flavor nor culinary use of frozen oil-cube cilantro. But it’s certainly a popular way to preserve it.

Instead I’ll harvest that cilantro to use fresh for making Cilantro-Lime Rice, enjoying homemade Pico de Gallo and/or flavoring any number of Tex-Mex styled dishes that are always on tight rotation in my kitchen.

Using fresh cilantro in cilantro-lime rice. #TexasHomesteader

Cilantro Setting Seed is Coriander

When I see those dainty white flowers on my cilantro I know my fresh cilantro-eating time is limited. I know I won’t be able to harvest from it much longer.

But I also know that seeds will be forming soon. In the meantime the bees love those tiny white blooms.

Cilantro flowers turn into coriander seed. #TexasHomesteader

Soon the blossoms fade and tiny round green seeds form. The green color is slowly replaced by a dry light brown color.

How To Harvest Coriander Seeds From Cilantro

When the coriander seeds are hard little dry balls it’s time to harvest.

But pulling them from the stem means they’ll roll everywhere on the counter and onto the floor. So I needed a way to keep it all corralled neatly as I harvest them.

Cilantro flowers turn into coriander seed. #TexasHomesteader

To make harvesting those seeds easier I’ll bring out a jelly-roll styled baking pan because it’s large, flat and has sides. This contains all those coriander seeds quite nicely.

Now I simply take a bundle of coriander seeds between my fingers and strip them off the plant and onto the pan. I continue this until all the coriander is removed. 

Now that I have my coriander harvested I scan for any debris & roughly pick out & remove the tiny stems and bits of dry cilantro leaf. But I don’t worry about getting absolutely everything out of the coriander. It’s going to be ground up anyway when I use it and the tiny stems and small amount of dried cilantro leaves shouldn’t affect the flavor.

Air Dry Coriander Completely

Nothing is worse than having a tiny bit of moisture in food you’ve harvested and dried before storing in a jar. That tiny amount of moisture will destroy the entire jar of contents. I’m not willing to take that chance. 

So I pour the coriander into a wide-mouth bowl and set it on my countertop. Every now & then I’ll run my hands through the bowl of coriander and stir the seeds, making sure it all gets dry before pouring it into a labeled jar.

Now keep in mind that this is just cilantro seed. So I’ll put about a tablespoon of seeds into my seed stash for next year just in case I need to plant some. But to be honest, the cilantro always comes back on its own. I haven’t actually planted it in years.

Then I’ll grind some coriander for use during the remainder of the year. My primary use for it is as a necessary spice ingredient in my Homemade Breakfast Sausage Seasoning.

This homemade breakfast seasoning makes regular ground pork into breakfast sausage. #TexasHomesteader

But since coriander pairs well with cumin, I can use it in many of the Tex-Mex dishes I enjoy serving.

You can see all our favorite TexMex dishes by clicking the button below:

Lightly Roasting Coriander Intensifies Flavor

Sometimes I’ll lightly dry-roast the coriander – just a bit to intensify the flavor. I simply place them in a hot cast-iron skillet and roast them, stirring constantly until they’re all toasty colored.

The seeds will make a popping noise as they roast. Careful, they can roast too much pretty quickly!

So keep stirring and take them off the heat when they’re as toasty-colored as you like. (a little extra brown on just a few is my preference since I like the smoky flavor it imparts).

Coriander seeds being lightly roasted in dry cast iron skillet. #TexasHomesteader

Storing Dry Coriander

Then I’ll cool the roasted coriander and place into jars. I prefer the flavor of roasted coriander but to be honest, sometimes I skip this roasting step all together. Shootin’ from the hip in the kitchen, y’all. That’s my game!

It would probably be most convenient to grind it all now, but I like to grind it in smaller quantities. I just feel it stays fresher that way.

Coriander is simply cilantro seed, and it's used in a completely different way than cilantro. #TexasHomesteader

So I grind enough to make a couple of tablespoons of ground coriander spice and then leave the others whole and sealed in a glass jar until I use up what little I’ve ground when I’ll grind some more. This is the method that works best for me.

Growing Food & Providing For My Family

So this coriander spice is basically free to me. The cilantro plant sprouts voluntarily and I use it in my cooking while it’s growing.

Then I harvest the resulting coriander spice for cooking afterward. So cilantro provides both an herb as well as a spice!

All it takes is a bit of my time to provide this spice for my kitchen. And isn’t that what self-sufficiency is all about?


This post categorized in Texas Homesteader website - gardening topics. #TexasHomesteader

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4 thoughts on “Harvesting Coriander From Cilantro – A Multi-Use Garden Treat

  1. Beth S.

    I have a large pepper grinder that l use when cooking. It is filled with different coloured peppercorns, coriander, small amounts of mustard seeds, and dried rosemary. My family calls it ‘super pepper’! My sisters actually ask for me to gift them my mix for Christmas. I never grew cilantro, but will add it to my garden for next year.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Super Pepper – oh how I love that Beth! And as you mentioned, what a great homemade gift idea too. ~TxH~

  2. candace ford

    Hello Texas,
    I’ve never been a big fan of coriander or cilantro but it’s interesting to read about your harvests and preserving of it. One of the things that just keeps on keeping on in my garden is tarragon. The plants are big bushy things that seem to winter over here. I’ve got a couple of plants and I trim them back, loosely tie the stems together and hang them in my utility room until they’re dry enough to kind of run small handfuls back and forth in my hands onto a jelly roll pan, pick out any stems that are a little too big and store them in a beautiful jar that once held some fancy olives. I like it on buttered noodles or baked (and buttered) potatoes and sometimes a pinch into a pot of long simmering spaghetti sauce.
    Stay well,
    Candace (with owls) in Oregon

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I love cilantro, but usually I’m only mildly interested in coriander (although I’ll probably experiment with it now that I’ve harvested so much) But I do need coriander for my breakfast sausage seasoning so I’ll for sure be using it often for that. Although I certainly have heard of it, I’ll admit I’m not sure I’ve ever actually tasted tarragon. But your herb preservation and running small handfuls back & forth in your hands into a jellyroll pan are exactly the same procedures I use. (Sometimes I think you could be my long-lost sister!) And I love that you store it in pretty repurposed jars too. Enjoy your owl watching! ~TxH~


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