poppy seed for baking?

canadianprairiegirl(zone 3)July 28, 2009

Hopefully, I don't get myself into a ton of trouble for posting this question as one website said that collecting poppyseed for baking was highly illegal but I know my grandmother used to do it way back when. I have boodles of the tall annual poppies in my flower garden that are almost done flowering. To prevent having that many more next year I was going to compost the plants before they go to seed when it dawned on me that the seed may be useful in the kitchen. Has anyone ever collected their own poppyseed and used it for culinary purposes? If so, is there any kind of processing or cleaning necessary to get rid of tiny insects etc? This is perhaps a silly question but just out of curiosity, can poppies be grown from the store bought baking shelf variety? Please humor me a bit longer on the subject of poppies, from the one pod from a tall double pink poppy I have only grown the double eggplant color - is this the only flower I may expect in future or do they ever deviate. The eggplant is lovely but I was hoping for a little more variety. Thanks.

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when your grandmother did this there were probably not as many hybrids as there are now and she probably grew an heirloom variety. Now there are many varieties of poppies. We have all heard of the opium poppy and it is vastly different than our garden poppy. I think if you want to save seed for baking you should investigate which variety they use for this

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 5:01PM
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canadianprairiegirl(zone 3)

yes I have been looking online as to which poppies are grown for culinary purposes and from what I gather, they suggest the papaver somniforum (opium) or the oriental (perennial)....any poppy experts out there know if I have interpreted this correctly???? One contributer wrote that she had the same idea about using her own home grown poppy seed for baking and found her seed to be brown and tasteless in comparison to the blue/black store bought variety. On that note, the seeds I gathered last fall were also brownish....too bad. Its looking like the compost pile for these guys!!!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 8:18PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Sorry but I'm going to have to completely disagree with Oilpainter. Many of the poppy varieties we enjoy in our gardens are cultivars of Papaver somniferum, and they are the seeds best used for baking. If you buy seeds in the grocery store that's what you're buying. It's not illegal to grow P. somniferum, it's just illegal to grow acres of them and extract sap from the pods and process it into heroin.

I think almost any cultivar would produce useable seeds, but there are some especially for baking, look for a word such as "breadseed" in the name.

I collected about a pound of Danish Flag Poppy seeds a couple of years ago (which is a P. somniferum variety) and they looked good for baking, they were fat and bluish black.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 9:57PM
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canadianprairiegirl(zone 3)

thanks for confirming that Northspruce. I don't think my variety are the Papaver somniferum which is too bad as they have big fat seed pods full of seed. I'll collect some for next year of course and maybe give them a taste test just out of curiosity. No one has answered this yet but has anyone successfully grown plants from the store bought culinary poppy seed? I imagine its treated or toasted and the seeds would not germinate.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 9:57AM
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I haven't tried it but I would guess they would be treated to inhibit them from sprouting somehow. I seem to remember reading that there are companies that sell seeds called baking/bread poppy seeds, try a search for that. I would also try health/organic food stores as they would be more likely to have "fresh" seeds. I grew peony poppies and found that if they were too dry the seed was brown, otherwise they were always black. Maybe you harvested too early or the conditions weren't good enough. Hope this helps

    Bookmark   July 30, 2009 at 10:54AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

I just checked my Danish Flag seeds and they are browner than I remembered. Google "breadseed poppy" and you should find a supplier for baking seeds.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 4:42PM
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My mom tried to germinate some store bought seed, it didn't sprout. I bought her some from T&T seeds this spring, when i placed an order. It was listed in the vegetable seeds under misc. herbs. Said these pretty flowers produce large pods loaded with tasty seeds. Ideal for baking cakes, breads, etc. Flowers in mixed colors. cost $1.95

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 7:47PM
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DrHorticulture_(Z3 Central Saskatchewan)

I know this has nothing to do with your question but my favorite dish is an Indian recipe of potatoes fried with poppy seed puree. Green beans or peas can be added too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Recipe

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 9:28PM
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Canadian prairie girl

This doesn't really apply to a gardening forum, but do you happen to have your grandmother's poppy seed roll recipe?

I've checked a few websites, but none seem to be what my German grandmother used to make.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 8:15PM
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canadianprairiegirl(zone 3)

sorry, I don't have her recipe but I do have a "Baba's Cookbook" with many poppy seed recipes including a poppy seed roll made with yeast. The filling includes poppy seed, lemon rind, lemon juice, orange juice , sugar or honey and a beaten egg. Would this be the recipe you are looking for?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 9:32PM
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Canadian Prairie Girl

I don't think there was any citrus in my Grandmother's recipe.

I did see a few recipes like the one you described, on the internet, so I may try one and see how it turns out.

I appreciate you checking. Thanks !

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 11:00PM
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canadianprairiegirl(zone 3)

also, you may want to google Taste of Home German Poppy Seed Roll recipe....they had several online. Taste of Home is a great source of wonderful recipes!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2009 at 10:04AM
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I just found this site today. My answer is 2 years post question, but better late than never.
I purchased some poppy seeds on line. One packet was labeled as papaver somniferum-opium poppy/ Persian White. The flower is supposed to be a beautiful white color. The other packet I bought was labeled as papaver somniferum-opium poppy/Persian blue. The flower is supposed to be a lovely lavender color. I thought that mixing the two colors together before planting would compliment each other and look awesome. The Persian white seeds are a light creamy white color. The Persian blue seeds are a bluish gray color. Each packet was $5.00 for a few hundred seeds. There was a warning/disclaimer on the packets saying to check with local/state officials on the legalities of planting them. I did NOT call.
They were planted on 4-10 and they are in the "sprouting" stage. Tiny, but cute.
I am into cooking using spices that are hard to find at the grocery store.
I want to harvest the seeds and sell them at our local farmers market.
If anyone is interested in their progress, let me know.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 10:12PM
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bluegoat_gw(Zone 3b)

The seed from the annual poppy Papaver somniferum are used in cooking. In Canada and the US it is legal to have seeds but illegal to have any other part of this plant. Many people do grow it and suffer no adverse consequences. But the authorities can destroy or make you destroy the plants. Unless you are growing acres of it or growing for nefarious purposes, this will likely not happen. There is the concept of mens rea.

Seed colour and basal patch colour are related. Petals with a white basal patch will have white or straw coloured seeds. Petals with a dark basal patch will have dark coloured seeds. The dark basal patch and dark seeds are coloured with anthocyanin. The blue-grey seeds are prefered for baking. In India, the white seeds are more common.

If you plan to grow these plants in quantity for the seeds, then go to the baking or bulk section of the supermarket and buy 100 grams for $1 or $2. For white seeds, go to an East Indian grocery store.

Sometimes the seeds have been steam heated to prevent them from germinating. You will have to just to do a germination test and find seeds that are fertile. The infertile seeds can of course be used in baking.

When making banana bread, line the pan with butter and coat the butter with poppy seeds before adding the batter. Takes the banana bread up to the next level so to speak.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 1:12PM
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