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Coriander harvest

16 June 2012

I’ve found over a dozen posts on various gardening blogs about how to properly harvest coriander seeds.  They all suggest uprooting the whole plant and hanging it upside down in a paper bag for a week in a dry place.  Well, here in central NC in the summer, we don’t have dry places, so against the advice of everything I’ve read, I decided to pick the seeds and put them in my dehydrator.  I couldn’t think of a more practical solution given the fact that the plant is almost four feet tall.

I read on a couple blogs, particularly SheSimmers, that the taproot has a taste similar to the leaves, but more pungent.  I cut and cleaned it, then gnawed on a piece, but it had very little flavor.  I’ll try cooking with it, but maybe it grew too big to retain any flavor?  I honestly don’t know what to expect from it.

The dehydrator manual suggested dipping the whole plant in boiling water.  That just isn’t practical given its size, but I did dip the seeds.  I found all manner of critters and crawlers on this plant after I uprooted it, especially baby katydids, so who knows what microscopic creatures are living there.  I figure at the very least this will clean the seeds a bit before preserving them.  I set aside a few for planting; I didn’t boil them and instead left them soaking in lukewarm water overnight.

I dehydrated the seeds for 8 hours, then put them in this old jar that looks like it came from a batch of do-it-yourself canning materials from a few decades ago.  I left them whole to preserve the flavor; I’ll grind them as needed immediately before use.  The taste of these seeds really surprised me because it’s absolutely nothing like powdered coriander from a grocery store.  They have a zingy, robust flavor reminiscent of orange zest.  If I didn’t know it was the same spice, I wouldn’t believe it.  I’m really looking forward to cooking with them.

Pictures of the whole process are in today’s gallery.

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