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I harvested a bunch of coriander seeds last year for cooking purposes. I've been adding them to soups and stock. However, I noticed the remaining ones had gone mouldy (there was this fine brown-grey dust when I poured some onto a chopping board) in the jar so I tossed them into the ground. This winter (I'm in the southern hemisphere), I saw the seeds have sprouted. Now, I wonder if what I thought were mouldy coriander seeds were actually perfectly safe to eat. Has anyone encountered this before? Is there a way to prevent them getting "mouldy"?

Thank you!

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Seeds in general need to be quite dry to store, whether for eating or sowing. When you harvest them you need to dry them thoroughly, which might mean leaving them spread out in the sun for a day, or in a warm dry place. For culinary use, especially in a humid climate, a food dehydrator or cool oven wouldn't be excessive. With big seeds it might take longer than you think.

Once dried they should keep indefinitely in an airtight container (except for a little loss of flavour, minimal in whole spices).

The dust may or may not have been mould. Before storing the dried seeds it's worth giving them a shake in a sieve to remove loose material - then if you do find dust it means something has changed and they're probably not good any more. The sprouting you saw is an indication r that the seeds were not mouldy, but if they sprouted quickly after you discarded them they were probably not dry enough; if they sprouted in storage they were definitely damp. It sounds rather like you had a mixture of good and bad seeds when you got rid of them, and some sprouted - perhaps you did dry them but unevenly.

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  • Could also have been a mite infestation or a pantry moth that has hatched and the larvae chewed through the seeds. – bob1 Jul 13 '19 at 13:20

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