cleaning hard podded seeds

Kathleen Sayce
Sun, 09 Oct 2011 11:31:02 PDT
There are some seeds I have hesitated to send to PBS because cleaning them is such a nuisance. These include some Allium and Dierama seed pods, which are hard and annoyingly slow to clean by hand, requiring that each one be rubbed open.

Today I hauled out a food mill and some soil screens, to see if a bit of mechanical tooling would make this easier. I pulled or cut the pods off the seed spikes, ground the pods in the food mill for 10-20 turns per lot of 15-20 pods, then screened the large debris off the seeds. Then I took  the partially cleaned seed outside to toss in the air in a large bowl.

While still slow, not being able to clean more than 20-25 pods at a time in the mill, the fiddly hand work was much reduced by the food mill's grinding action. The dry seeds are so hard that this did not seem to damage them at all.  

So, I would like to know what other methods people use when cleaning small lots of hard-podded seeds. 

PNW, zone 8, cool dry summers, mild wet winters, sandy soils with salt in the air

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