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Aug 26, 2003 03:39 PM

Fresh Cilantro/Coriander seed

  • c

I planted some cilantro and neglected it for a while. Next time I saw it, it had flowered and gone to seed. Now I have these little green berries on the plant. I know that coriander is dried cilantro seed. So I have 2 questions:

1) Can I use the green berries? They smell awfully good, like a bright, pungent version of dried coriander.

2) If I wanted to use the seeds as coriander, is there a time when I should harvest and dry the seeds? Or will it dry on the plant and then I should harvest?


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  1. I'm anxiously awaiting an answer to this myself. I too let my first attempt at growing cilantro go (but ooooh.. my basil). Anyway, I too came back to it flowery/straggly or something, then I stopped watering it and left it to the rain, which I haven't seen much of recently....

    I'll have to take a look at mine and see what's left, then look here, and hopefully find an answer about what I can do with it.

    My watercress didn't do well either, but my rosemary is a shrub.

    1. I grow my coriander during winter. (I'm in Australia, so reverse the months!) Coriander the plant and the seed have the same nomenclature here. I plant the seeds in about April in well manured soil, and harvest all during Winter and Spring until it goes to seed. When all the flowers die off and the plants are looking a bit brownish, I pull all the plants out by the roots. Cut off the roots, wash, dry, bag and put in the freezer for future use (great in Thai curries and pastes). The plants themselves I just hang upside down in bunches in the shed in a dark spot, and come and take the seeds whenever I need them. Ground up fresh, they have a wonderful citrus aroma. Also plant the same seeds for next year's crop. Cheers.

      1. i don't see why you could not use the coriander in its' green state. everything is edible on a cilantro plant.

        I raise a lot of cilantro and get a lot of seed. Let the berries turn brown on the plant than harvest by cutting off the seed heads and stuffing them in a bag (paper is best). Clean the seed by separating the seed from everything else. Get rid of the garbage and store the seed in a cool, dry, dark, place. paper envelopes work well as do glass jars. Use for culinary purposes and for growing. A few plants will give you alot of seed.



        1 Reply
        1. re: ohiorganic

          I just did the same with my chives

          No cilantro this year but it always bolts unexpectedly .. Grown it for many years but it bolys

        2. Like you, my cilantro plant went crazy and I had all this "stuff" that wasn't cilantro. I just noticed the seeds today, and tried one. Delicious! I was cooking a stir-fry of sorts and figured I'd try it out. I took a Thai cooking class once and one of the ingredients was a green pepper corn; It was with that in mind that I tried these. I put them in the hot oil with some red pepper flake then proceeded with the rest of the veggies, and the final flavor was AWESOME. Each green seed or berry was a peppery burst of flavor, not really strong of cilantro, but enough that you could tell that's where it came from. I reall enjoyed it and am looking forward to using the rest of the seeds before it freezes!

          Also worth noting; I was recently in Cina and had the pleasure of being hosted at a friend's house for some authentic Sechuan cooking. He had a pepper called "ma" (pretty sure that's it and no idea on the spelling) that had a numbing effect on your tongue (besides being ridiculously delicious and apparently impossible to get "the real thing" outside of Sechuan). These "berries" had a similar effect. Hot, delicious, and slightly numbing. Weird!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Linaschke

            Sounds like the Sichuan Peppercorn
            And no, you can get them over here, now. There was a time when you couldn't at least legally (they're actually related to oranges, and can carry citrus canker). But they are now being irradiated, and those ones are completely legal (whether they are of comporable quality is another matter.Look in the spice area of your Asian supermarket, if you have one, or online (Actually I think Penzeys carries them now.)

            1. re: jumpingmonk

              thanks jumpingmonk, yeah that looks right! It was my reference to "the real thing" though that I meant as far as getting them outside of Sichuan (apol's for the earlier misspelling; iPad seemed to think it was right!). We were in Beijing, and my friend had just returned from visiting family in Sichuan. He put "the real deal" from Sichuan under my nose, and then what you can buy in Beijing. Unbelievable difference. So I'd imagine what you can get here (USA) is nothing like what is there, if you can't even get good stuff in Beijing.

              He had told me that for a while it was illegal to import that to the US, but I'd forgotten that until you said something.

              I shot him an email to see if he'd ever tried these fresh cilantro/coriander seeds… I'll let you know if he responds with anything worth sharing!

              1. re: Linaschke

                Incidentally, the "sansho" pepper used for some Japanese fried dishes is the same plant, species wise.

                1. re: jumpingmonk

                  Sansho is related, a type of prickly ash, but sansho is milder with more citrusy tones.

          2. This past summer when I was still in Texas, my cilantro plant went to seed. It was my first experience with a cilantro plant, so I was very excited to see the seeds baked hard and dry in the punishing Texan sun. The seeds were very tiny but so fragrant even without dry roasting---I suppose the sun did that job for me, too. I got a few tablespoons worth of seeds. I am hoping I will have the same success with my new cilantro plant going to seed next year in Virginia. If I can keep it alive over the winter, that is.