Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Preserving Self Grown Herb Seeds by Alfred Kirby

Drying herb seeds like mustard seeds is really a fairly straightforward task. However, you might want to realize that even though a seed appears tough and dry, you must never put it into a storage container without first actually drying it. Because a few seeds have a hard outside shell, they can hold water on the inside that you just might not be aware of. If these seeds are put away in a sealed container before they are totally dried, they can easily spoil and grow mold.
Gathering up the seeds from your plants is probably the most challenging part. Start off by shaking the plant to get out as many as possible, then finish up by plucking the leftover seeds from the plant. I understand this might appear evident to some, but do not wash them since doing so could cause them to sprout. Instead, sift the seeds inside a mesh basket or a colander and then put them in between a couple of kitchen towels and rub them all-around to eliminate as much dust and debris as you are able to.

When preserving your seeds, it is essential that you dry them completely. You will want to furnish a bit of additional warmth. A food dehydrator with tiny air openings is ideal for this, but if you don't have one, you'll be able to do it in the oven. Remember, just a bit of warmth. You just intend to dry your seeds, not roast them.

Turn the oven on only until the element becomes red and then turn it back off again. That'll supply you with just enough warmth to dry your seeds without cooking them. Spread your seeds out on a baking sheet that has been lined with a towel to help hold them in position. Put the pan inside the oven and leave the door cracked just a little to permit air to circulate. Continue to repeat this procedure every time your oven cools down. After doing this process three times, examine your seeds by biting into one. It should crack and be hard and crunchy when it is sufficiently dry. Allow your seeds to stay out on the counter top for more than an hour to rest prior to storing them.

Your dried house grown seeds must always be kept inside a sealed plastic container, glass jar with a lid or a spice jar. This will continue to keep them fresh for quite a while and keep them safe from airborne dirt and dust as well as pests.

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