Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to harvest poppy seeds

I love poppies in the garden, their fleeting flashes of colour, their rich history of illicit substances, the memories of post battle fields filled with bright red flowers.  There is a great deal of history, both joyful and painful, that surrounds this simple flower.

Aside from the 'special' substances that can be derived from their juices, poppies are more commonly known for their seeds.  You can make so many different things with these seeds, from pasta sauce to bagels from these charcoal dots.  

This year I grew bread poppies.  They have pink flowers and are known for their large pods packed full of seeds.

Pick the pods by cutting a couple of inches down the stems.  Do this at the heat of the day and only pick the dry ones that rattle when you shake them.

Cut the tops off the seed pod with some sheers.  Do not use sewing sheers for this, it will dull them and people might yell at you.

You can see the compartment where the seeds live.  Now up end this in a shallow dish, carefully picking out any bits of pod that fall in.

Leave it to dry a few days, gently stirring every day.  Store in an air tight container for future use.

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