How our grandmothers cleaned poppyseeds

Poppy seeds

Growing red poppies in the commercial sphere, but also on private fields, is a purely Czech phenomenon. Due to various legislative restrictions you will hardly see red poppies anywhere else, much less growing on large fields such as in the Czech Republic.

If you like the taste of poppy seeds but don’t like the high price and sometimes suspicious taste of poppy seed sold in supermarkets you probably grow your own. But what do you do with all those poppy seeds?

In the old days, each barn was equipped with a blower

Our ancestors followed a simple rule. Poppy seeds have been harvested when poppy pods were dry and rustle in the wind. They were cleaned from dirt and left to dry for a few days. After that they cut them open and poured the seeds out into a suitable container.

Poppy seeds

Photo: Pixabay

Our ancestors used a strainer to get rid of coarse dirt, but to get rid of the fine impurities they used a special blower. The whole process was done to separate wheat from the chaff, as the saying goes. Finally, poppy seeds were dried and stored in canvas bags.

Water was also used to clean poppy seeds

Today, you will hardly see a blower to “clean” poppyseeds so people use a water bath instead. This is a somewhat controversial method as it degrades the seeds. However, if it is carried out properly and dried immediately, there is no reason for concern. If the seeds are dried completely there is no danger of spoilage by fungi. So, how should you do that?

After sifting through a sieve, pour water over the seeds and make sure that they are completely submerged. Mix gently. Impurities will rise to the surface. Drain the water and repeat the process until the seeds are completely clean.

Now, pour the seeds out in thin layers and spread them on sheets or trays and let them dry – preferably in the sun. Mix and stir the seeds repeatedly to ensure that the water evaporates fast. When the seeds are completely dry, store them in suitable containers in dark and cold room.

Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *