Coriander to Cilantro: Harvesting your own seeds

Coriander seedsI’ve always been confused about the difference between coriander and cilantro (I thought coriandre was just the French name for cilantro – maybe it was just me, haha), and I LOVE fresh cilantro in fish tacos, salads, etc., so I looked it up and discovered that coriander is the seed planted to grow cilantro, and when ground, is a spice used for cooking.

I’ve been getting into harvesting my own seeds more this year, mostly because I find it interesting, and I’ve read that seeds harvested from you own garden are already better suited to your soil and location (and their relevant issues). And hey, it’s economical – no need to buy seeds next year!

So this year, I’ve harvested seeds from our cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes (grown from seed last year) and purple beans (grown from seeds we’ve been harvesting for 5 years). Here’s a quick summary.

To harvest cilantro seeds: wait till they go brown in the garden, then hang to dry. I just wrap a bunch with twine and hang it from a nail over my interior doorways. I do this with lavender too, and it makes for lovely fall decor! In a few weeks, pull off the seeds and either save for next year in a paper towel sealed in a small Ziploc bag, or keep for grinding and using in recipes.

To harvest lettuce seeds: let one plant go to seed. It will become tall and start flowering, and eventually, little bits of fluff will form on the ends of the buds. Bring them inside and rub the fluffy bits together with your thumb and forefinger (with a paper towel underneath to catch the seeds) and keep as above. I’m also letting another plant stay in the garden to see if it will “self seed” (for early spring lettuce) if and when the fluff falls off the plant. We’ll see!

Harvesting lettuce seeds

To harvest tomato seeds: just pull the seeds out of any tomato and let them dry in a paper towel. Fold it up and keep in a bag as above – you can even plant the little bit of paper towel along with the seeds next year if they don’t want to come off. But mine picked off the paper just fine.

To harvest bean seeds: leave some of your beans on the vines in the garden till they look dead and shriveled. Pick them, bring them inside and let them dry a few days or weeks longer, until they’re crispy to the touch. Break them apart to release the seeds and keep as above.

Sounds easy right? It is! So go spread the love! I’d love to know what other seeds you harvest and how they turn out.

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