Friday, November 27, 2009

Coriander seeds update

It was only a month ago, on October 31, that I did a posting on harvesting coriander seed. In that short time the seed has dried, I've sown some to test if they're viable, and they've come up (well, some have). So that's my update, essentially, but along the way I discovered something about village life that I'll share with you at the end.

October 31, the vibrant, fresh green seeds, healthy bouncing babies in a bowl.

After three weeks in a brown paper bag hanging up in my shed, they're all dry.

After about two weeks in the bag they all looked dry enough, in fact, but I left them there for another week just to be sure.

The hardest part of the whole process was pulling the seeds off the stems and creating this pile of seeds. Took a while, that did.

Next step, the viability test. Six seeds sown, then covered in seed-raising mix.

Not sure if this constitutes three seeds up or two. Not exactly the best seed viability rate I've ever seen, but not a complete dud either. As I only need to grow a few plants at a time next autumn/winter season, I am sure to get more than enough seedlings out of that pile of seeds.

However, about two-thirds of that pile of seeds is headed for a jar in my kitchen. To turn the seeds into powder, I lightly heat up the seeds in a dry frying pan, just until you can smell the fragrance coming off the seeds, then I grind them up in a coffee grinder. I use the coriander powder in all sorts of spice mixes, but as I cook a lot of Indian food that's where most of it will go, although many Greek and Middle-Eastern dishes use coriander powder as well.

And what was this blinding insight I had into village life? Well, it happened during the long drudgery of separating the dried seeds from the stems. While doing this I imagined I was a poor villager somewhere, trying to scrape together a living, harvesting and sorting fifty kilos of coriander seeds, a pile five feet high. What drudgery! The only way to get through countless hours of this would be to share the workload with a couple of others, and make things interesting by talking village gossip!
"She did what, with Uncle Varna? No! Really?"

I am sure the only good thing about long hours of such drudgery would be the gossip.


Green thumb said...

That was one very innovative experiment - harvesting coriander seeds in a container! One can have fresh home grown coriander without bothering to dedicate much space for it.
Now we know how necessary village gossip is. Your brilliant anthropological insight just unearthed the foundations of a fairly ancient ritual.

Evelyn Howard said...

All good until I came to the bit about grinding and putting it in a container... Duh! I hadn't realised coriander spice in Indian cooking comes from the same plant! Because I've never seen the seed, I thought it must be different..

Ahh reading the paragraph again, I wonder if I should post it :(... oh well, here goes...

marrissa jones said...

Excellent post, thanks for the tip I go through so much coriander look forward to attempting this myself this year :)