Coriander has been one of the unexpected gifts of this year’s garden. It’s also known as cilantro, Coriandrum sativum. The seed is generally known by a derivative of its Latin name while the plant uses an Italian name. Finding the sound of the word pleasing, I’m happy to use the term coriander for both. I bought a plant last year, and this June I found five little seedlings coming up, a gift from the Lord of the Harvest. I planted them.
Through the year coriander became one of the dominant aromas of my garden; I would smell it every time I stepped inside its sacred confines. I grew to like it, too, on my pasta; it adds a heat to a sauce, like pepper. This is generally not my favorite thing in food but I am very partial to the flavors of all the things I grow myself.
People at times complain about it as a herb because it goes to seed very quickly, and once it sets seed it dies. Hence by August the plants were yellowing. But the flavor of the leaves is present – though in a milder form – in the seeds, and so I spent a little time harvesting the seeds, getting in the end about half a pint of seeds from the four plants that survived. This way I will have the flavor of my garden on my pasta through much of the winter, and seed enough for next year’s plants to boot. It was easy enough – all I had to do was strip the seeds – which were attached fairly stoutly and did not fall off too easily or otherwise misbehave – from the umbels where they had formed.