Winnowing: Separating Plant Matter from your Poppy Seeds

By Kristen | May 15th, 2020

Sometimes, when seeds are harvested, bits and pieces of the plant stem, seedpod, or husks can get caught up in the process. What should you do if you find plant matter in your poppy seeds? Turn to a process called winnowing, which is a seed cleaning technique.

Winnowing Process

Winnowing is nothing more than separating the plant matter (commonly called chaff) from seeds, using the wind as a tool. Simply place a large, wide bowl on a table, outdoors if it’s windy, and indoors if you want to simulate the wind with a hairdryer. Place a paper towel in the bottom of the bowl. Hold the poppy seeds in your hand over the bowl and gently release them into the bowl, allowing the plant matter to fly away in the wind while the seeds fall into the bowl.


If you have one, you can also send your poppy seeds through a flour sifter. Your seeds will fall through into a bowl underneath while the plant matter will get caught in the sieve.

Happy Cooking!

Kristen is a professional chef living, working, and playing in Washington, D.C.

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