How to Harvest and Store Cilantro

 

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From tacos to guac to corn, cilantro is a staple in any kitchen, so why not have your own supply growing on the fire escape, balcony, or front stoop? Cilantro loves to be crowded and in direct sunlight. Don't be afraid to try planting this amazing and forgiving herb.

Tips for harvesting and storing cilantro:

1. Cilantro is ready for harvesting approximately 3 to 4 weeks after planting, or as soon as over 6" tall.

2. To harvest cilantro, cut the outer 2/3 of leaves and stems with scissors. If you leave sufficient healthy stems and leaves in the middle portion, your cilantro plant will continue to produce fresh herbs throughout the summer. 

3. Once mature leaves appear, be sure to harvest every 4-8 days to prevent your plants from "bolting" or flowering, and then wilting. 

4. This herb has an especially short shelf life, so try harvesting right before preparing a meal or snack to get the best fresh benefits.

5. In the final stages of growth (flowering and going to seed), there's still more to be gained from your cilantro plants! Once flowered, the plant will produce seeds (also known as coriander) which can be harvested in their young, green stage (a sharper flavor) or in their more mature, brown stage (more mild). Raw, young seeds can be incorporated into a number of dishes. Brown, older seeds can be dried, ground, and used for months to come. Finally, cilantro develops a very large tap root which can be harvested later in the season and is often found in traditional Asian soups and stocks.