separating fennel seed from the stems

Asked November 19, 2016, 6:33 PM EST

what is the easiest way to separate fennel seeds from the stems they are attached to.? It is time consuming the way we do it. We use a strainer and sift the seeds and seeds will fall thru the small holes in the strainer leaving the stems behind. I do not think the commercial fennel bought in a store and cleaned for selling are not done this laborius method. Please help

Oneida County New York

1 Response

Hi,

I just deal with home gardeners and when I collect dill or anise fennel seeds I just pick them dried on the plant or cut semi-ripened ones and place them in a paper bag in the attic to finish drying. Then I crinkled any seeds still attached to the stem with my fingers onto a tray and lightly blow the stem pieces away. If there is a few pieces of stem left with the seeds, that generally will not matter when using them for cooking or baking. I did a quick internet search and all sites I found suggested the same thing - dry and separate seeds from stems. Often if you dry them in a paper bag with a few holes for ventilation, most of the seeds fall to the bottom and you can pull the stems out and then pour the seeds into a jar. Unless you are doing this on a commercial scale, harvesting seeds, like podding peas or dead-heading spent flowers is a task that takes time and should be enjoyed as you get to savor your harvest and think about the delicious dishes you can use the seeds in this winter when you can't get outside.