collecting coriander seeds…

IMG_5832

Does anyone else feel just a wee bit scared about where the world is heading? With so much destruction in such a short space of time, I have a feeling Mother Earth is trying to get back at us for all the harm we humans have inflicted on her. I’ve really been struggling writing blog posts ever since the Christchurch earthquake and even more so after the utter and total destruction in Japan last week, but I am totally with Shauna (from gluten-free girl and the chef) when she recently wrote, Celebrating these small pleasures is one way of honoring life”. By cooking and sharing with the ones we love, we are celebrating life, the best way we know how.

I thought it fitting to finally write up this post about saving your own seeds. In light of the devastation around the world, I’m hoping that it serves as a wake-up call to everyone that we need to be returning back to the old ways. Where everyone grew their own food, saved seeds and cooked good nourishing handmade food. How is it that we have all strayed so far from what should be natural human instincts?

I had planned to write this post while still in NZ, but this past month was way more manic than I had ever imagined. I have a handful of posts, where the food was actually prepared and photographs taken while still in NZ.

I hope you don’t mind?

It’s just that, for now, we are staying with my mother & sister-in-law, as well as my brother-in-law, his wife and two young kids! As you can well imagine, with three families under one roof it’s a full house and there is no way I am able to cook and photograph anything memorable just yet. Although I have been eying up a beautiful piece of Jarrah lying around out back to take my photo’s on 🙂
We basically moved over here with just our clothes and a few personal things; my cookbooks, Si’s kite surfing gear, Kye’s bike and Ada’s doll and dress-ups. We spent almost every cent we own getting here, so until Si finds work, here is where we must stay. I’m still slowly sussing out where I can buy gluten-free flours also, so as soon as I do, and I find a little spare time (and space!) I will get baking and sharing new recipes again.

You know how we love our (old) vege garden right? Well, I’m sorry to say that over the last few months it was so neglected that it was basically just a garden of weeds and seeds.  Not so nice to look at, and not very productive. But here’s the cool thing, we got loads of seeds, for free. Free as free can be.
My rocket, flat-leaf parsley, pak choy, florence fennel and coriander (to my American readers what you know as cilantro, we call coriander, just so you know) all went to seed with my blatant lack of love and attention. I’ve forever wanted to let things go to seed and leave them long enough so they actually form proper seeds, but I am a tad impatient (usually) when it comes to planting my next season’s seedlings. I’d much rather prefer to just rip the old plants out, once harvested, and re-plant brand spanking new ones.

So kind of by accident really, I ended up with a whole jarful of fragrantly fresh coriander seeds.

All you need to do is leave the plant to go to seed, something all my coriander (cilantro) plants try to do way too quickly anyway. Make sure you leave them on the plant until nice, plump seeds form like the ones in the top picture above. Pull the whole plant out, roots and all; give the base a little shake, to remove any loose soil that may be clinging to the roots. Hang upside down in a sunny, covered spot for about a week then remove each seed by hand once they have turned deep brown and are fully dry. This is the kind of mind-numbing job I enjoy at the end of a long day. Possibly weird I know, but it’s also a good job to do while watching t.v if you prefer.
Store in an airtight, preferably glass jar.

These can now be used in your favorite Indian recipe or be used to plant your next crop of coriander (cilantro).

8 Comments

  • Reply
    louie
    March 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    liking the pics Em, specially the second one down 🙂

  • Reply
    Anna
    March 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Wow, I have always wondered what to do with my coriander when it has gone to seed, and now I know!!!
    Thanks, and good luck with Australia

  • Reply
    Janet NZ
    March 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    What a lovely idea! We are in the process of harvesting the last of our summer veggies, then I want to try planting some coriander seeds – I understand they prefer cooler weather… It seems the right thing to do at the moment – growing our own food, herbs etc. If I could just persuade my husband that chooks would be a nice addition to the back yard… Good luck for your new life – I have every faith that you will make it work. xxx

  • Reply
    Leigh @ Toasted
    March 19, 2011 at 2:12 am

    I am totally with you on wondering about where the world is heading. And the leader of the opposition here in Oz (Tony Abbott) is busy rallying all sorts of right-wingers to start a "movement-of the people" (!?) to start having rallies declaring that Climate Change does not exist! I am totally wondering about parts of our human race as well!

    Ha – I am a slow-n-lazy kind of gardener and am ALWAYS collecting seeds! I claim it's the best way to do it.

    GF flours? – I don't know if Fremantle is too far away from where you are, but Kakulas Sister in Fremantle has lots of different ones, and Manna Wholefoods on South Tce in South Fremantle is good too. I know there'a a Kakulas store in Northbridge, and a Kakulas sister in Nollamara, but I'm not sure how they go for GF flours. If you can bear it, Woolworths does a bit of a range too.

    Good luck. Sounds like a crazy-but-good time in your house right now.

  • Reply
    emma
    March 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks Louie and Anna 🙂

    Thanks Janet, I have heard coriander likes cooler weather too. I've tried growing it in every season, it didn't grow at all over winter-to cold? Spring is the best, summer, as I found out this year-just goes straight to seed!! 😉

    Leigh-Wow! Thank you so much for all that info. We actually were in Freo today. Just for a quick look though. I'm going to have to leave the kids at home one day and go exploring by myself if I want to actually acheive anything I think! 😉 Many thanks again. Xx

  • Reply
    serendipitydiary
    August 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I love this! This year I did not plant enough cilantro and because there was never enough to use I just left it a pot and let it flower. Finding your post is quite serendipitous because I just noticed yesterday the seeds beginning to form and now I know when I should start harvesting them! Thanks for the post!

  • Reply
    AmandaPaa
    August 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    so this may be a dumb question, but what do you mean by coriander a.k.a cilantro….does cilantro seed into coriander? i have a cilantro plant that is started to seed.

  • Reply
    emma
    August 7, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Serendipitydairy~ Yay! Perfect timing 🙂 I had been holding onto this one before submitting to punkdomestics so that it would coincide with the end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, as here in Australia we are just coming into spring…

    AmandaPaa~ No not a silly question at all, I'm going to go back and edit this post to use the name cilantro too. To explain… in New Zealand where I'm from, and here in Australia what you know as Cilantro, we all coriander. So yes, what you know as Cilantro, once gone to seed, produces coriander seeds (most often used in Indian cooking). Hope that helps?

  • Leave a Reply