How to Harvest Cilantro: A Guide to Fresh, Flavorful Herbs

How to Harvest Cilantro

Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a popular herb known for its bright, citrusy flavor.expand_more It’s a versatile ingredient, adding a touch of freshness to salsas, guacamole, curries, and many other dishes.expand_more But if you’ve never grown your cilantro, harvesting it might seem a bit daunting. Fear not! This guide will walk you through everything you need to know, ensuring you enjoy fresh, homegrown cilantro for weeks.

When to Harvest Cilantro

Harvest Cilantro is a cool-season herb, meaning it thrives in slightly cooler temperatures.expand_more Knowing when to harvest is crucial for maximizing quality and preventing your plant from bolting (flowering and going to seed).expand_more Here are some key pointers:

  • Maturity: Most cilantro varieties are ready to harvest after 50-60 days of growth when the plants reach 6 inches (15 cm) in height.expand_more
  • Leaf size: Look for fully developed, mature leaves. Avoid harvesting tiny, new growth, as this can hinder the plant’s overall production.
  • Season: Cilantro prefers cooler temperatures.expand_more Aim to harvest in early spring or fall to avoid bolting during hot summer months.expand_more
  • Flowering: If your cilantro starts to flower, it signifies the end of its usable lifespan.expand_more The leaves will become bitter and unpleasant in taste.expand_more

How to Harvest Cilantro: Gentle Techniques for Continuous Enjoyment

Harvest Cilantro is a unique herb in that it benefits from regular, gentle harvesting to encourage continuous growth and prevent bolting.expand_more Here’s how to do it effectively:

1. Choose your tools: You can use either sharp scissors or your fingernails for harvesting. Scissors provide a clean cut, while fingernails offer more control for selecting individual leaves.

2. Start small: Begin by harvesting 20-30% of the outer, mature leaves. This encourages the plant to produce more leaves, ensuring a longer harvest period.

3. Selective harvesting: Focus on removing the larger, outermost leaves first.expand_more Leave the smaller, newer leaves in the center to allow them to mature.

4. Cut or pinch: You can either cut the stem of the leaf just above the soil line or pinch off the leaf at the base. Both methods are effective. exclamation

5. Avoid overharvesting: Resist the urge to take too much at once. Overharvesting can stress the plant and hinder its ability to produce new leaves.


  • Harvest in the morning: This is when the essential oils in the leaves are most concentrated, resulting in the best flavor.exclamation
  • Wash and dry: After harvesting, gently rinse the leaves in cool water and pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any dirt or debris.expand_more

Harvesting for Different Needs

Individual leaves: For smaller amounts, use your fingernails to gently pinch off individual leaves as needed.

Larger quantities: For larger quantities, use scissors to cut entire stems, making sure to leave at least one-third of the plant behind for continued growth.

Bunch harvesting: If you need a larger amount for a specific recipe, you can harvest the entire plant by cutting it just above the soil line. However, remember that this approach will significantly shorten the plant’s lifespan.

How to Harvest Cilantro

FAQs: Your Cilantro Harvesting Questions Answered

Q: Can I harvest cilantro more than once?

A: Yes! The key is to harvest selectively and regularly. This encourages new growth and allows you to enjoy fresh cilantro for weeks.expand_more

Q: What happens if I cut the entire plant?

A: While technically possible, cutting the entire plant is not recommended. It significantly reduces the lifespan of the plant and limits your future harvests.

Q: My cilantro plant is bolting. Can I still harvest it?

A: Unfortunately, the leaves will become bitter and unpleasant once the plant starts to flower.expand_more It’s best to discard the plant and start with new seeds at this point.

Q: Can I save cilantro seeds for future planting?

A: Yes! When the flowers fully mature and dry, they will turn into coriander seeds.expand_more You can collect and store these seeds for planting in the next season.expand_more

Harvesting Technique:

  • Start small: Aim for 20-30% of the outer, mature leaves.
  • Be selective: Focus on the larger, outermost leaves. Leave the smaller, newer leaves in the center to grow.
  • Cut or pinch: Use sharp scissors or fingernails. Cut the stem just above the soil line or pinch the leaf at the base.

Benefits of Selective Harvesting:

  • Encourages the plant to produce more leaves in response to the slight stress of harvesting.
  • Promotes bushier growth by encouraging new branches to develop.
  • Delays bolting (flowering and going to seed), extending the harvest period.

Will Cilantro Regrow After Cutting?

Yes, Harvest Cilantro is a “cut and come again” herb, meaning it will regrow after being harvested properly. Regular, gentle harvesting promotes new growth and keeps the plant in a vegetative state, maximizing your cilantro bounty.

Additional Tips:

  • Harvest in the morning for the best flavor.
  • Avoid overharvesting, which can stress the plant.
  • Water regularly to encourage healthy growth.
How to Harvest Cilantro

By following these simple practices, you can enjoy fresh, homegrown cilantro throughout the season!


Harvest Cilantro is a simple process that anyone can master with a little practice. By following these tips and techniques, you can enjoy fresh, flavorful cilantro from your garden throughout the season. Remember, gentle and selective harvesting is key to maximizing your yield and extending the life of your cilantro plants. Now, go forth and add a touch of vibrant freshness to your culinary creations!


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