cilantro - Knowledgebase Question

las cruces, nm
Question by lauriehg
June 21, 2007
I planted cliniantro and i don't know how to harvest it or when it's ready for harvest. It has flowers do I cut them?


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Answer from NGA
June 21, 2007

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It sounds to me as though your cilantro is just about finished growing. Cilantro is a cool weather herb. Once the weather gets warm it will set seeds and die. Cilantro is successfully grown where the summers are dry, and not humid. The seeds are planted after the danger of frost has passed.It doesn't transplant well, so sow the seed where you want it to grow. You'll want to harvest when the plant is 4-6 inches tall. You can either cut leaves as needed or pull the entire plant and use the roots in soup. When the plant "bolts" or starts to flower it becomes bitter and is no longer is used as cilantro. It will take about 120 days until the coriander seed matures. You can plant more cilantro every 7-10 days to keep a steady supply. In the heat of the summer, especially in hot climates, it won't do as well. It's a good spring/fall herb to grow and will withstand temperatures down to 10 degrees.
Cilantro does not dry well. It should be used fresh or you can freeze it if need be. Small resealable bags would work well for this. To store fresh you can wash it by the bunch and spread on a paper towel. Gently blot with another paper towel and allow it dry for about ten minutes or until the moisture evaporates. Then wrap the cilantro in a paper towel and place it in a plastic bag or in a plastic covered container. Refrigerated, it will stay fresh about a week.

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