Widely known as coriander, cilantro is a delicious herb that enhances the taste and smell of food when you add it as a garnish. You can use fresh cilantro leaves in salads, salsas, and meat dishes. They can also give an omelet a little zest.
The coriander seeds, which have a particular flavor like orange, are used in baked products, sausage, and cooked fruit and are a key component of curry powder and pickling spice. According to specialists, coriander oil has a therapeutic quality and minimizes flatulence.
Growing this herb is simple and easy, but when it comes to harvesting it, you can kill your herb plant if you do not know the correct way.
This article will give you a simple and practical guide to harvesting the cilantro plant without killing it or causing any harm to it.
What is Cilantro?
Cilantro is an annual herb that many people use in Mexican food, especially. It has a long stem with small leaves on the top, identical to parsley. The Apiaceae family includes cilantro. Its features are similar to that of parsley, carrot, dill, etc. The Coriandrum sativum plant is where it originates.
While cooking or in delicacies, you can use the cilantro herb in two parts; seeds and leaves. Both the plant’s seeds and leaves go by coriander and cilantro, respectively.
So, there you have it—the confusion-causing distinction between cilantro and coriander.
The taste and flavor of cilantro leaves are very distinct. People love or hate it in their food; there is no in-between.
But, since you are reading our article, you must come in the first category. You must love it, which is why you are researching the correct way to harvest your cilantro plant without endangering its life.
How Do You Harvest Cilantro Plants Efficiently?
Knowing how to harvest cilantro without damaging the plant is crucial for ensuring continuous and bountiful production. Follow the guide below to know the correct ways and tools to use in harvesting.
Step 1: The growth stage plays a major role in harvesting cilantro without killing it. Evaluate the growth of your plant beforehand plucking its leaves. Once your cilantro plant is about 6″ (15 cm) tall, which takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks after planting, you can harvest it. Harvesting the plant at that age does not kill the plant. However, employ the correct way to harvest, which we will discuss in the next steps.
Step 2: When you pluck leaves from the stems, you make an entry for germs to harm the stem. To prevent that, ensure you use the correct tools and sanitize them. To cut the leaves, use a sharp knife or pair of scissors. Since the kitchen knives are the cleanest and germfree tool, we advise you to use that only.
Ensure not to cut too deeply or take too many stems when gathering cilantro. If you incorrectly harvest cilantro, the plant will develop more slowly, and you won’t have as much to harvest.
Use your hands if the tool isn’t handy. However, wash and sanitize your hands before and after harvesting.
Step 3: Estimate the amount of the herb you need. Once you know the amount, you can employ the correct method.
Harvesting a Small Amount of Cilantro
If you only need a few herb leaves, starting with the largest and the outermost leaf is favorable because cilantro grows from the middle and shoots out stems that branch off.
From the soil’s surface, cut about an inch of the stems with scissors or your hands. You should not disturb the plant’s center if you want them to thrive and produce continually. There will be fresh growth there.
Your plants can thrive and produce cilantro if you only take what you need immediately.
Bonus Read: Easiest Vegetables to Grow
Harvesting a Colossal Amount of Cilantro
The danger is at its peak here when you harvest a large amount of cilantro without knowing the correct method. Therefore, you need to follow the following tip by words to prevent any damage to the plant and bountiful growth after a colossal harvest.
Ensure you are not hurting the plant or its growth if you want to collect more cilantro to last longer. Consequently, you shouldn’t ever take more than one-third of the plant. Your plant should remain healthy as a result and keep growing.
Remove the plant’s widest leaves and stems while leaving the rest of it intact when harvesting in higher quantities.
When is The Best Time for The Harvesting of Cilantro Plants?
You can crave cilantro garnishing to your food anytime. So, knowing when is the best time for harvesting can help your plant grow bulkier and healthier after the first harvest.
When the cilantro plant is about 6 inches tall and has soft, green leaves, it is ready to be harvested. Your cilantro plants may need anywhere between 4 and 6 weeks to mature and be ready for harvest, depending on the growing circumstances.
Which Methods of Storage Are Most Effective For Keeping Cilantro Fresh Longer?
Cilantro is a herb you can use instantly or save later. However, it can lose its color and flavor if not preserved correctly.
The easiest and the best way to prevent cilantro not to go into compost piles or garbage is to harvest only as much as you need at a time.
However, if you have harvested it in a large amount and are planning to use it later, you need to adhere to the following ways to keep your cilantro fresh and flavorful for a longer time.
1. Keep Your Cilantro in The Water
You can keep a bunch of cilantro fresh for a few days or longer by storing it in a glass or jar of water, especially if you keep it in the refrigerator.
All you need to do is put the cilantro leaves in a container with an inch of water, and remember to change the water every so often to keep the herb fresh.
2. Store It in a Cold Place (Refrigerator)
After harvesting, you first need to rinse it with water and clean it so that all the dirt, pest, or chemicals on it gets cleaned. After washing it clean, dry it with a kitchen towel. Place the dried cilantro herb in a zip-top bag or other airtight containers.
Place the container in the tray of your refrigerator. In this way, you can use your cilantro herb for garnishing your food or flavoring your soup for a couple of days.
3. Chop And Freeze it
It is the most used and efficient way to store cilantro and use it for a longer time. For that, you first chop up your fresh cilantro leaves, put them in ice cube trays, cover them with water, and place the trays in the freezer. In this way, you can use this herb for up to 4 months or even more.
Also Read: How to Build a Vertical Vegetable Garden
How to Dry Your Cilantro Herb?
The most trivial and effective way to store fresh cilantro herbs to make use of them in food, tea, or soup for the longest time is to dry them. You can use your kitchen oven for quick drying. However, if you want to lock its authenticity even after drying, you must use the hang-drying method.
For hang-drying your cilantro herb, pick out several cilantro leaves and tie them in, making a bundle using a string. In a room with good ventilation, hang the upside-down bundle you produced. Please store them in an airtight container like a glass jar once they are dry and crumbly so you can use them for as long as you wish.
What is The Best Climate to Grow Healthy Cilantro?
Cilantro is a plant that loves cold weather. It thrives best and healthily in the wintertime. The best temperature for cilantro to grow at its best is 50-70 degrees. Though it can survive well at 10 degrees F, it starts to bolt when the temperature increases to 85 degrees F.
If you are keeping your cilantro indoors, show the plant sunlight for at least 4-6 hours for them to thrive well.
You May Also Like to Read: How to Prepare Garden Soil for Planting?
Through this article, you must have learned that growing, caring for, and harvesting cilantro herb without killing it is no big deal if you follow the correct tips and tricks.
Now that you know every little detail about cilantro, try planting it in your backyard, harvest it carefully, and garnish your food to treat your palates.
You can also utilize your harvested cilantro herb at different stages following our guide to store it.