Edible Gardening 101: Harvesting Coriander Seeds | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Edible Gardening 101: Harvesting Coriander Seeds

Edible Gardening 101: Harvesting Coriander Seeds

Cilantro leaves have a flavor that most people either love or hate. But even if you think cilantro tastes like soap, you should still consider growing a few plants in your garden, because cilantro and the spice coriander both come from the same plant, Coriandrum sativum.

In the United States most people grow this delicious, multi-purpose herb for its leaves, but its delicious Coriander seeds are entirely worth harvesting and taste nothing like cilantro leaves. Cilantro is a cool season herb that goes to seed quickly during the long, hot days of summer.

The plant’s round, lobed leaves turn feathery as it lengthens up towards the sky. Pretty masses of small white flowers soon appear. These nectar-and-pollen rich blossoms attract tons of pollinators, especially honey bees and syrphid flies. As the blossoms begin to fade, small, round, kelly green coriander seeds appear.

Green Coriander Seeds on Cilantro Plant











PHOTO: Coriander seed develops after cilantro goes to seed. Harvest the delicious seeds when they are young and green or fully ripe and brown.

Coriander’s flavor is truly unique—citrusy and slightly nutty, and it pairs very well with beans, lentils, rice, and roasted or grilled vegetables. The seeds can be harvested when they are young and bright green, or you can wait to harvest them until they turn brown. I like to harvest them at the green stage, because their flavor is sharper and more pronounced, and because the only place you can find green coriander seed is in a garden. I’ve never once spotted them at a grocery store or in a farmers' market. The seeds keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks if stored in a lidded glass container, and they freeze well too.

Coriander Seeds

PHOTO: Green coriander seeds have a truly unique citrusy flavor that tastes delicious in marinades.

If you’d like to harvest the mature brown seed, either to plant next year or to grind and use throughout the winter, wait until the majority of the seed turns brown. Then, cut off the seed heads along with a few inches of stalk and hang them upside down in a brown paper bag.

When the seeds are fully dry, they will fall out of the heads and into the bottom of the bag. Store the dry seed in a lidded glass jar in a cool, dry location. For the best flavor, grind it right before use. You won’t believe the difference in taste between freshly ground coriander seed and the pre-ground stuff usually available at the supermarket. Experiment using green coriander seed in marinades and dressings. The flavor of dry, ground coriander works especially well with cumin, so I often add an equal amount of coriander to recipes that call for cumin.

P.S. It also tastes phenomenal when infused in vodka!

Coriander infused Vodka

PHOTO: Coriander infused vodka

Comments on this Blog

My 1st year growing cilantro and coriander. This has already occurred and I'm wondering how far to cut off the stems for a reproduction of cilantro. Appreciate any ideas in response.

The cilantro I am growing appears to have pods that have seeds in them. Is this a different variety?

Thanks for the informative post. I think I'll wait to use the dried mature seeds.

Can the seeds be planted during the same season?

Do you wash the seeds or just dry them?

If I harvest them green, do I crush them before adding them do my marinade or dish?

Thank you very much for your very informative article about harvesting the seeds. I am a little puzzled because another website advised not to use the seeds for cooking as they had a very unpleasant flavour - you say exactly the opposite! Now I'm confused. But your advice about how to harvest them is excellent.

I am harvesting the seeds now in Colorado. will let dry some and scatter the rest for next year's crop. altho I don't think it is a perennial from roots (at least at 7800') it reseeds easily after even the coldest of winters. Love to chew the flowers and stems of this plant and it is most definitely an anti-nausea if chewed raw.

My neighbour threw his coriander plants on the compost heap so I've replanted them,& now I've got a mass of seed heads to harvest, so thanks for the advice.

Great advice! Thank you very much - you provided all the info I needed! My plants shot up a few weeks ago and have gorgeous white flowers that are now slowly losing their petals to expose the myriad seeds that I will dry once they turn brown. I will try a few green ones before that happens though. Once again, many thanks for the useful info.

Thank you for your help! I have cut the plant and have them upside down in a brown paper bag. I will plant some of the seed next year and also grind the coriander seed up to use in a spice rub for pork loin.

Great info thank you, I live in Coffs Harbour NSW Australia. I have just harvested about half a kilo (16 oz) of green seed. I will be taking these to my local Thai Restaurant just across the road, they love to see me walking in.... I will be looking at freezing some this year and the Vodka idea excites me. I think I will have about another 1 1/2 Kilo (3 lbs) by the time I have finished with this crop. I love my Coriander...

My kitchen smells wonderful after harvesting coriander, a first for me. Can't wait to share with friends and cook with. Thank you for the information.