Friday, November 7, 2014


In my last post I mentioned another chore that I had finally gotten done. I had bags of seeds that needed to be winnowed. Monday while it was too cold to go outside, I was inside stripping seeds off the dill and fennel. I didn't clean up the seeds then as it is a very messy chore. But at least it was part way done. The mustard seed was harder. The seeds aren't out in the open, but in pods. So I waited until Wednesday when it was warm to do that one. I put all those pods into an old pillowcase. Then I stomped on them. I moved it around and stomedp on it some more. Basically it is the easiest way to break up the pods and get the seeds to fall out.

Once the seeds were out, I used a steamer basket I had to sift out the large items. Then a fan to blow away the small things. This is easy with the mustard. But the dill is very light, so I have to turn the fan on to low and take more time. The fennel is even harder as the seed is large enough that most won't go through the holes. I can sift out the small things and pick out the larger ones by hand. If I had a whole series of sifters, my life would be much easier, but I just use what I have.

And there they are, all jarred up. I have two jars of fennel. I collected the fennel green to use as a spice and more ripe to use for seed for later. And that is a lot of seed. I don't think I'll need to let the fennel go to seed again next year. I have enough to put the whole garden into fennel. I wish I knew why fennel seed from the seed store is so expensive. They barely gave me any. But it LOVES to put out seed. And it is open pollinated. The dill is even more seed heavy as I have a quart of seed. What will I do with it all? I tend to only use it two ways. I use it to make pickles. And I use it in rye bread as a substitute for caraway. If you have ever smelled dill seed, you will know it smells almost the same. Of course I don't eat rye anymore, but I'm going to be working on a gluten free mock rye (probably with buckwheat and teff) once my cornbread recipe is complete.


  1. A true "Labour of Love" eh? Presumably the people who sell herb seeds commercially have all the gear to make this an easy job - so the seed ought really not to be very expensive.

  2. A good way to work off a temper. How long does you seed keep?

    1. The seed keeps very well. It is best stored in the basement to keep it cool (or the fridge is where I keep my seeds for the garden, but not big containers of them). I usually harvest new crops every year, so they rarely have to last longer than that.

  3. Aren't those jars full of seeds lovely - must make you want to sit back and just gaze at them with a wonderful sense of accomplishment. I have to deal with my coriander seeds - I removed the seed heads from the plants a couple of weeks ago and I'm sure they are dry enough to pick off by now.

  4. It is always good to see how others do something, especially winnowing which I think is as much art as science. I have a plastic strainer that works like your steamer to get the big stuff out. And sometimes I blow out the chaff if it is a small amount of seeds.

  5. That is a lot of seeds. I don't seem to use seeds very much that way. I do love dill weed in my homade salad dressing though. Nancy

  6. Woah, those jars of seeds look fantastic. I've not tried saving that much seed yet.