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Cilantro

I have one cilantro plant that had doubled in size after a week. That’s great because we use it a lot. Problem is, the soil is so good that the plant grew bigger than we expected and needed.   It’s currently at least knee-high.

I’ve been researching how to dry cilantro and what to do when it bolts.  We’re still eating it.  We had stir fry shrimp last night with cilantro and we’ll have fish tacos this weekend with cilantro.  There are probably more dinners in the next week that will include this herb.  We love it.

As for drying it, cut the long stalks, tie a bunch together and hang upside-down in a cool dark place until dried.  You can also cut it and put it into ice-cube trays with water so when you need some just add a cube.

The center of my plant has bolted and it is starting to flower.  I’ve read when this happens, leave it alone because it knows to reproduce before it gets too hot.  The flowers will produce coriander seeds.  I can either harvest the seeds to use in my kitchen or let them drop to reseed.  I haven’t decided what to do yet.  I have other smaller cilantro plants that I can put in its place or nearby so when this dies I’ll have more.  Cilantro will not do well in the summer heat so it might not be worth my time now to replant unless I decide to grow it inside, which I’ve done in past years.  Northern gardens can use cilantro longer into the summer.

Cilantro bolts because the soil gets hot.  My soil is a deep, rich, dark color and the plant is on the edge of my garden so the sunlight must have affected the soil temperature.  The plant is huge but if I had it surrounded by large leafy plants, like squash, cucumbers or peppers or another herb like basil, the soil around my cilantro may have been protected from the sunlight.  I did read it is a good idea to mulch cilantro but I didn’t know that until just now.  These are my notes for next year. 

Bolting and flowering reduces the power of the flavor.  Meanwhile, I’ll eat it for as long as it’s growing and tastes great.

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