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May 24, 2011 04:25 PM

Harvesting coriander roots?

Hello all!

I've started growing coriander in my herb garden this year, mainly because I am unable to find the roots that I so desire for Thai cuisine. I would like to know if there is a preferable time for harvesting the roots, or are they the same no matter the stage of the plant? Is it okay if I let it go to seed and then pull up the plant?
Thanks in advance for the help!

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  1. Gee, that's a good question...when I've bought cilantro at the store and the roots were still attached, the plants had not gone to seed yet - they hadn't bolted, even. I don't know how that would affect the flavor of the roots. But, I'd suggest that your pull up the plants before they bolt, that way you'll get the best flavor from the leaves and stems too. Use them for a garnish if you must :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: gimlis1mum

      Bumping this because I pulled up some self-sowing (sowed?) cilantro today that's already bolted...the main part of the root had a woody core, not good for a cilantro pesto or curry paste, I'd think. But it would do okay as flavoring in a broth. The smaller side roots were fine & I smashed them up with some garlic to make a paste for a soup. The leaves and stems were lost causes from a culinary perspective, though - awful soapy taste, and I don't usually think that cilantro tastes like soap. Onto the compost pile they went.

    2. Thais pound the roots in a mortar and pestle, so the issue is not one of getting them before they get woody. I buy from a local store, and find that the more mature ones with larger roots have a stronger flavor than the young ones.

      Although Thais process the roots in a mortar and pestle, it is not to the point of making them into a pulp. It is to help release the flavor and aroma. I use a cutting board and the side of a cleaver to do the job. I get the same results, and with an easier cleanup.

      1. I grow coriander (cilantro) as well, sometimes for the roots, some for the leaves and some for the seeds.
        I saw a good description for growing for the roots on shesimmers. I'll try find the correct link.
        It worked pretty well and what I don't use immediately, I freeze and again that works well

        2 Replies
          1. re: butzy

            What an excellent link, thank you butzy! I've had two failures in a row the last couple of growing seasons--hopefuly next year will be better, armed with this info.