ISSUE 63  |  Do-It-Yourself

Fennel Seed Harvesting

March 13, 2013 1:00 PM

BY Sarah Lonsdale

To be filed under, “Am I really that thick”.

It’s not ground breaking but when a bunch of decorative fennel that I had hung upside down on the front door began dropping seeds, I was in awe. The fennel had been there since November replete with flowering heads and had provided a lovely smell of anise whenever the door was opened. January had rolled around and I had meant to take it down. That was when I noticed the fennel seeds – it was like discovering gold. Here’s how to harvest them properly.

Above: Stalks of fennel with dried out flowers. For optimum freshness the seeds should be harvested just as the flowers are beginning to dry out and turn brown..

Above: Clip the top of the stalks with the flower heads and place them on a tray in a dark place to dry. This usually takes one or two weeks.

Above: The seeds will dry and drop off the flowers. For those remaining, rub the flower heads over a bowl until the seeds fall out. Remove any stalks from the bowl and transfer the seeds into small jars leaving any powder and dust in the bottom of the bowl.

Above: I stripped the stalks of any branches and flowers and left them to dry out. Once fully hardened I plan to use them as sticks in the garden for supporting plants.