Reflections on Bolting Cilantro

A guest post from my mom and dad from the Big Island of Hawaii.

Reflections on Bolting Cilantro

The too short useful lifespan of the ''little bit goes a long way'' Cilantro in the garden has, at times, frustrated me.

There is such a short window of time to traditionally harvest the the pungent cilantro leaf! Gleefully snapping up my packet of Cilantro seeds from the garden section of our local store, my taste buds perk up from a vision of Guacamole, Thai Spring Rolls and Curry. 

I am in the habit of planting about 10 seeds a week to have successive harvests that are just right, at the usual stage of neat and tidy large potent leaves which are carefully cut from their stems, and sparingly added to my dishes. I still love using the large leaves in the traditional way for garnish and flavor.

Catching my attention in the back row, I admire Cilantro's next stage, which had always gone to compost. I now find myself watching the cilantro bolt after the first harvest. 

Previously, this stage was dreaded because the leaves are smaller, way milder and too hard to harvest. The voluminous 15'' gorgeous dark green, bushy, leafy, many branched, mild scented and sweet, bolting stage of Cilantro called out to me, so I gently cut the bolting plants one inch from the ground (they'll regrow), and whisked them into the kitchen. The main stem is discarded. Chop quite a big pile of everything else (at least several cups per serving). This makes a winning addition to any soup, stew, or stir-fry dish!

I now find myself wishing my cilantro hurries up and gets to that awkward, bolting stage, for the mildest, best tasting, small leafy greens and tender stems!