Back in November, I showed you how to extract seeds from squash. (All it takes is an axe and vacuum cleaner.)
Today let’s talk about how to dry those seeds!
(I know I’ve skipped over the actual seed cleaning part but I can’t find any great pictures of our cleaning. We’ll have to wait till next October for some to reveal that part pf the process.)
Begin With Wet Seeds
These are fresh out of a squash.
Spread Those Wet Seeds Out
We spread the wet seed out into drying boxes. The frame is made from 1x4s. The bottom is made from window screen.
Dry That Seed
We stack 1 to 3 of these trays on an inverted tulip bulb crate.
We then place a forced air dryer on the boxes and turn it on.
The fans pull the air up
- through the porous bulb crate,
- through the window screen,
- through the mass of wet seeds,
and out through the fans into the air above.
This started out as a forced air dryer for salad greens. It didn’t quite do the job the way we wanted it to.
It does a great job drying squash seeds!
If you don’t have a fancy forced air dryer, you can use box fans. Spread out the seeds on a surface and set up 2-3 box fans to blow air over the seeds. Stir the seeds regularly to avoid secret wet spots.
Turn Seed Into Pancake (Then Crumble)
After 6-12 hours , most of the excess moisture will be gone.
This results in a big seed pancake in the top box.
By seed pancake I mean a mass of seeds that have dried and stuck together.
This mass restricts air flow, which makes it harder for the seeds to dry in both the pancake and the lower boxes.
We crumble the pancake with our hands to expose any wet seed, and to improve air flow.
Deal With Dry Seed (And Fluffies)
After 2-3 days, the outside of the seed is very dry.
At this point, little wispy wrappery things separate from the outside of the seed shell.
When I run my fingers though the dry seed, the fluffies float to the top.
These fluffies get all over the place and that just drives me crazy.
You can get rid of these fluffies with an air column, or air compressor, or winnowing the seed in front of a box fan, or using a clipper.
Make Sure Seed Is Dry
Even though the seed shell is dry, there is still some moisture coming out of the center of the seed,
It’s good to keep the seed well ventilated for another week or two before packing it up.
If you pack the seed up too early, black spots might appear on the shell!
Watch The Forced Air Dryer In Action!
How do you dry your seeds?