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Threshing Beans and Peas


  • Harvest pods when they are dry and brittle

  • Threshing involves applying force to the dry pods in order to liberate the seeds

  • You can do it by hand or stuff a pillowcase with Beans or Peas and "stomp" on it, rub it with your hands or even put in the dryer on air setting (No Heat) in a tightly sealed pillowcase

  • Once the pods have been threshed, pour the seeds and chaff into a bucket

  • Most of the seeds will fall to the bottom allowing you to remove lots of the chaff by hand from the top


Winnowing Beans and Peas

  • Winnowing relies on the weight of the seeds and the lightness of the chaff

  • You can use a stiff breeze or an electric fan

  • Set the fan on top of a table and pour the seeds and chaff out in front of the fan’s breeze into another bucket

  • The seeds will fall straight down while the chaff will be blown to the side.  This will take several passes. 

  • Store seeds somewhere cool, dry and dark for the winter to plant in the spring, or cook and eat right away

  • Always be sure to Save Some for the Library!!!

How to Save Lettuce Seeds


  • Let your lettuce plants grow well past when you would have eaten them. 

  • Seed is harvested after the plant “bolts” (sends up a flower stalk), flowers, sets seed, and dries. 

  • Lettuce seeds are ready for harvest 2 to 3 weeks after the flowers bloom.

  • Lettuce seeds are very small, and can be harvested by shaking the seed heads into a paper bag. 

  • Or leave the plants in the ground and harvest weekly as new seeds mature. 

  • Once the lettuce seed heads are almost totally dry, pull the entire plant and hang upside-down over a paper bag.

  • Use a fine mesh screen to clean lettuce seeds...  the screen will allow the seeds to pass but will restrict the larger chaff. 

  • Or rub them against a rough paper plate...The chaff will stick while the seeds fall free.

How to Save Tomato Seed

  • One variety at a time, cut tomato open and squeeze the pulp, juice and seeds into a glass or plastic container

  • Add some water and as it sits, the fermentation will break down the gelatinous sack that encloses the seeds. 

  • This may take up to 3 or 4 days. 

  • Stir or shake every day or two.

  • After the seeds are released, the viable ones will sink to the bottom of the jar. 

  • Pour off or decant all the pulp and bad seeds from the top layer. 

  • Then pour the good seeds through a kitchen strainer and rinse well to remove any bits of tomato flesh that remain.

  • Spread the seeds out to dry on a coffee filter or paper plate. 

  • Keep them out of direct sunlight with good air circulation. 

  • It is best to continue drying them for two to three weeks to be absolutely sure the seeds are dry. 

  • Store in a sealed plastic or glass container in a cool, dark and dry location.

  • Again... Be sure to save some seeds for the library!!!



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