Is there a way to dry cilantro leaves or just seeds?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Mel-, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    I planted some cilantro this spring and wondered if I can dry the leaves or should I let it produce seed and then dry it as coriander? I have dried thyme and basil before and didn't know if I could treat it the same or not (I have read the sticky herb threads).

    If I can dry it, should I wait until it forms flowers or do it before it forms flowers?

    Any other uses for it besides in salsa or mexican dishes?

    Thank you so much in advance,

    Mel-
     
  2. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Cilantro leaves are cilantro no matter at what stage of growth they are in. It's only the seed which becomes coriander.

    A problem with cilantro is that by the time tomatoes are ripe, the leaves are too far along for good taste as well as being tough. What I've done is keep a gallon jar in the freezer. When the leaves are at their peak for taste and tenderness, I pick them and freeze them as is. When it's time to make salsa, I take out a handful and chop it while still frozen. The results are that one can't tell if it were made with fresh or frozen cilantro.

    Martin
     

  3. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    Martin,

    thank you! I found a site on the web that also recommended freezing them (and also actually dug out a canning/freezing book I have).

    When do you know when the peak of flavor/when to pick for freezing?

    Thanks again,

    Mel-
     
  4. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Mel, as long as the leaves are still "rounded", they will have the cilantro taste. No doubt that is what they are like now in your garden. They would resemble flat-leafed parsley. As soon as the plant begins to form a seed stalk, future leaves look more like ferns and take on a different taste and texture. You can try snipping off the plants at about 8" high to slow flower development. If not, you'll end up with a coriander plant nearly 3' tall.

    Those who are into making salsa don't plant cilantro until about 4 to 6 weeks before they expect tomatoes to be ripe. Then it is at the peak for taste at the same time that tomatoes and peppers are ready. I have it come up by itself year after year as I always allow a few plants to mature and set seeds. However, this also means that I no longer have cilantro by the 4th of July but rather coriander. Already some plants are 2' tall but excess rain and cool temperatures have kept them growing and tender. Thus I must pick and freeze as much as I want this next week as they will definitely be blooming before the end of the month.

    Martin
     
  5. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    Martin,

    thank you for the info! I think I will definitely get these frozen now, I'm probably about 200 miles or so south of you so probably a week or so ahead of you in terms of garden.

    One year my sister who lives in austin came up and she is the one who wanted to make salsa with cilantro in it, I'd never heard of cilantro (or at least in salsa) before then but boy was it good!

    Mel-
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Mel, you can use your tongue to tell how far along the "ferny" higher foliage is. It's also OK to use while still very young but the time window is a short one before they suddenly become tough and tasteless. When I see the first white flower, I am ruthless. Entire plant comes up and is stripped of anything green. If I needed any more coriander seed than what I have stored, then I would leave only a few plants to do their thing. Once you see how many seeds a single plant can produce, you will understand!

    Martin
     
  7. Michael83705

    Michael83705 Well-Known Member

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    I just plant a few seeds every 2 weeks just like lettuce. Keeps it pretty much all the time fresh and we eat a lot of it.

    I got a "Vietnamese Cilantro" plant this year that doesn't bolt and loves sun, but although it tastes close I think I'm going to stick with the Cilantro.