Growing coriander

Recently Julia asked for tips for growing coriander.

Julia : “I love coriander but have never been able to grow it successfully. I have some very old seeds! Or cooking coriander seeds which I may have to use, as unlikely I can get to buy any.”

Jon: “If using old seeds, or some from the spice rack, soak for an hour or so before planting. It takes 2-3 weeks to germinate. Sow where it is to grow; they don’t like being transplanted. It grows like a weed at Falmer, where the soil is good. Good luck!”

Marjory: “Grow in semi shade. The big seed companies are still doing postal orders with some delays. Wynne’s expecting more seeds next week and do home deliveries.”

Judy: “That’s good to know. I’ve not had much luck growing in pots, always bolts before I get many leaves, I will try in a shadier spot in the ground then!”

Wendy: “Mine always bolted too, also am not much good with Parsley. Got lovely Chives Mint,and Marjoram though”

Karen. “I let mine grow wild, and both parsley and coriander now self-seed all over the allotment. Neither like it to hot or dry and will bolt quickly in those conditions. Also good when starting, to sow a little and some more every 3 weeks, that way you will always some for cooking. Both freeze perfectly in ice cubes too.”


What’s cooking?

Coriander is also known as Chinese parsley and cilantro, and can be used as a herbal remedy for digestion problems. The leaves are used in cooking, and the seeds when ground are one of the main ingredients in garam masala, and curry powder.

If you have whole seeds, it’s worth dry roasting them in a pan, before grinding them in a pestle and mortar to use in curry dishes. The smell is amazing!

I asked Julia what she used coriander for.

“I use it a lot, mostly in Indian, Mexican food but also soups and Pad Thai. A good tip is when I buy a bunch, I tear off what I need, and then put the rest of the bunch in a bag in the freezer, as is. Take out and slice off what is required, and put back in freezer.”

I agree, that it really adds to Mexican and Indian food, although it is one of those “love or hate it” herbs! Some people put it in guacamole, but I only like lemon or lime, and salt and pepper in mine.

Refried black beans are amazing with coriander added at the end. Since I discovered how easy it is to cook all beans and pulses in the slow cooker, I have been cooking batches most weeks, and freezing portions. To do this, I soak beans pulses for at least 12 hours, then boil them for 5-10 minutes, then put in the slow cooker on low until soft. You can then add other seasonings and continue cooking, for example to make your own amazing baked beans, or refried beans.

Do you have any gardening questions? Do send them in, and we will try and answer them.

Growing something unusual in your garden or allotment? We would love to hear all about it