14 July 2011

Why I'm happy when my cilantro bolts

I used to morn when my cilantro bolted. No more leaves to harvest, just big clusters of not particularly showy flowers.  Then I learned about green coriander seeds.
L to R: Cilantro, green coriander, mature coriander
Cilantro and Coriander are different names for the same plant. When we harvest the leaves, we call it cilantro. When we harvest the mature seeds, we call the coriander. The flavors of the two are both delicious, and quite different. But there is a magical in-between time when the seeds have started to develop, but are still immature: green coriander. I'd heard someone you could eat them at that stage, so last year I took a nibble.

Wow.

Think cilantro, but some sort of wonderful perfected and glorified cilantro with a lemony almost fruity flavor to it, what cilantro wishes it was but never quite is. In short, I basically don't harvest cilantro leaves any more. I plant it, and wait eagerly for it to bolt, so I can harvest these little nuggets of happiness. Pick them when they are little plump green balls, but before they start to turn brown and toughen. The plant will produce for a surprisingly long time, a couple months for me, if I keep them harvested. I'm careful, however, to never harvest them all, because left to their own devices, they'll self-sow, providing me wonderful flavor every year with essentially no work.

Green coriander is great in anything you'd put cilantro in. It is wonderful with beans, tomatoes (salsa!), and almost anything involving lemon or bacon. Try it in your favorite pasta or potato salad for instant happiness.

10 comments:

Scott said...

The fruits of fennel are also excellent when they're still young, green and tender.

Carlie said...

What a genius post! I had no idea! I'm totally growing cilantro next year!!!! Thanks!

Greensparrow said...

Really Scott? I've never tried green fennel seed. I'm totally going to try that!

Carlie,
Do try it -- you'll be glad you did!

shinara said...

How convenient! My cilantro is bolting...

Laurie Brown said...

wow! I'll have to try that! The cilantro is blooming right now....

Leslie said...

I always consoled myself by thinking about all the beneficial insects attracted to the flowers. I never realized you don't have to wait for the seeds to mature into coriander before you can enjoy them! (Heading to garden to pick green seeds...)

Andy McGee said...

I've never tried that before! Now I need to plant cilantro. Thanks for the tip. I am excited!! :)

supplements said...

Green corianders make a healthy vegan addition to your favorite salad.

Katie Hertfelder said...

Thank you! All hot weather vegetable advice is greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I am a novice, 1st year planter. I harvested the whole plant bc my cucumber took over the area anyway. Next year im going to plant herbs separate. So I am left with a huge pile of coriander seeds. Can I freeze them or roast them? They are bright green and plump. Thanks for the help. They smell amazing.