I've been out of town for a week and came home to find that my cilantro has bolted. I'm still using the "regular" looking cilantro at the base of the plant and it tastes great. But what about the more feathery looking foliage at the top - is that just as edible? Will any more "good" cilantro grow now that it's bolted? Does bolting mean I need to go ahead and pull it out? I know the flower tops will eventually produce coriander (right?), but I don't plan on harvesting that.
All parts of cilantro/ coriander are edible. If you need the garden space, are done harvesting, and you don't want the seeds, then go ahead and pull it. In that sense, it is done.
Here are some reasons to leave it:
*the flowers are pretty and they attract beneficial insects to your garden.
*the ripe seeds can either be left to self-sow, or you can use them to plant the next crop. You will not get a "slow-bolt" variety, but I have not found those varieties that slow-to-bolt! Perhaps it's our garden's latitude or something else, but cilantro seems to bolt pretty quickly. (That's how I know that the fernier growth is still pretty tasty-- at least to a cilantro lover.)
"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
Cilantro always gets away from me before I use it. Next year I'm going to try to plant it so that I'll get bushy leaves pre-bolt right around when I get my first tomatoes. Wishing you luck for your cliantro cultivation!
My friends just visited Polyface Farm last weekend (a farm featured on food, Inc.). The Salatins apparently harvest their bolted cilantro as "green coriander" and sell it to lots of local restaurants at a premium. Who'd have thunkit?