Harvesting cilantro seeds is simple, and doesn’t take much time. In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to collect cilantro seeds step by step, and also how to save them for next year.
They are one of the many types of seeds I harvest from my garden every year, and saving them could not be easier.
Plus, you get a double bonus with this one, because the seeds are coriander. So, you can use them to fill your spice rack, and also keep some to plant again next year.
You don’t need any special equipment or skills to gather the seeds. In this detailed guide, I will show you exactly how to harvest cilantro seeds, step by step.
Table of Contents
Harvesting Cilantro Seeds From Your Garden
It’s very easy to collect cilantro seeds (coriandrum sativum), and doesn’t take much effort. You just have to get the timing right, or the seeds won’t be viable.
But once you know what to look for, and can tell when they are ready, you’ll be rewarded with a plethora of seeds.
Does Cilantro Have Seeds?
Yes, cilantro produces seeds. But you won’t see them until after the plant bolts and then flowers.
Many people miss out on gathering them. That’s because they pull the plant once it starts bolting, before it has a chance to set seed.
How Does Cilantro Produce Seeds?
If you’re interested in collecting cilantro seeds don’t pull the plant when it bolts. Instead, let it bloom.
After the flowers fade, they will form small green balls, which are the immature seeds.
Eventually, the entire plant will die back, leaving nothing but the mature seeds on top of the old flower spikes.
When Does Cilantro Go To Seed?
Cilantro goes to seed once it gets hot outside. They usually start bolting sometime in early summer.
The flowers are small, and only live for a short time. So you might not even notice them.
After the flowers fade, it takes another couple of weeks for them to produce the green balls, and then mature brown seeds that are ready to pick.
Where Are Cilantro Seeds?
Once they’re ready, you’ll find the brown, round coriander seeds at the very tips of the dead flower spikes.
They are pretty obvious, because the rest of the plant will be dead by the time the seeds are mature, so you can’t miss them.
When To Harvest Cilantro Seeds
Like I mentioned above, cilantro seeds start out green. But they are not viable when they’re green. You need to leave them on the plant until they turn brown.
Once they turn brown, they are ready to be collected. Don’t wait too long though, or the seeds will drop off (though they do tend to reseed themselves, so all is not lost).
What Do The Seed Pods Look Like?
Cilantro plants do not form seed pods. Instead, you’ll find individual seeds in a cluster at the ends of the flower spikes.
What Do Cilantro Seeds Look Like?
Cilantro seeds are round, brown, and very light weight. They don’t look like they are viable, they look dried out and dead.
The seeds are actually called coriander. So, if you’re familiar with that spice, then you’ll have no trouble recognizing what cilantro seeds look like.
How To Harvest Cilantro Seeds
Cilantro seeds are very easy to collect, and you don’t need any special supplies or equipment. Here’s what you’ll need…
- Collection container (a plastic bowl, small bucket, a baggie, or a paper bag)
- Precision pruners (optional)
Step 2: Carefully pick the seeds – Hold the container underneath the seeds, and carefully bend the flower stem so it’s positioned directly over the top of your bag, bowl or bucket.
Then use your fingers to pick each of the individual seed clusters off of the plant.
Step 3: Drop them into the container – Put the hand-picked seeds into your container. Then repeat until you have collected all of them from your plant.
Optional method: It can be difficult to harvest cilantro seeds by hand-picking them. They tend to drop from the plant when disturbed.
So, you might find it easier to use sharp pruners to clip off the whole flower head, and then drop it into a paper bag.
Then you can simply fold over the top, and shake the bag to release the seeds.
Step 4: Bring the seeds inside – Once you’re done collecting cilantro seeds, bring them indoors to prepare them for storage (or for your spice rack).
What To Do With Cilantro Seeds After Harvesting
The nice thing about saving cilantro seeds is that there’s very little chaff (the stem pieces, and other debris).
But, it’s a good idea to separate them from the chaff before storing them – especially if you’re going to use them for cooking.
How To Clean The Seeds
To separate cilantro seeds from the chaff, first pour out the contents of your collection container onto a flat surface.
Drying The Seeds
Once you’ve collected cilantro seeds from the garden, it’s important to allow them to dry completely before storing them.
That way, you’ll avoid any problems with mold. It’s easy to do, simply let them sit out for at least a week on a dry surface.
How To Save Cilantro Seeds For Next Year
If you’re a DIYer, then learn how to make your own seed envelopes, which are perfect for storing or sharing with friends.
How Long Do Cilantro Seeds Last?
Cilantro seeds can last for a few years, and still remain viable. But, they will lose their viability over time.
It’s best to harvest cilantro seeds every year, so you’ll always have the freshest stash possible.
You can use coriander seeds for cooking for even longer, but they will start to lose their flavor after a few years too. So it’s a good idea to replenish your stock annually.
Where To Buy New Seeds
If you can’t collect them from your garden, you can find the seeds for sale at your local nursery or big box store in late winter or early spring.
Otherwise, here are some great quality seeds you can buy to get started… cilantro seeds.
Harvesting cilantro seeds is easy, and a great way to save money. With their long shelf life, and diverse uses, cilantro are the perfect ones to start out with if you are just getting into collecting your own seeds.
If you want to learn all about how to successfully grow your own seeds, then you should take my online Seed Starting Course. It’s a detailed and self-paced online course that you can complete anywhere and anytime you want. Enroll and get started today!
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Share your tips for how to collect and save cilantro seeds in the comments below…