The Q&A Archives: Saving Brown Mustard Seeds

Question: I am a novice and am growing some brown mustard, mainly for the seeds, but now I am wondering if I can eat the leaves. The plants are at the stage where they have bright yellow flowers. I also suddenly realized that I don't have a clue how to harvest the seeds.

Answer: Saving seeds is quite easy and it's fun to exchange with other gardeners. (However, for future reference, don?t save seed from hybrid plants, because when planted it will not mature identical to the parent plant. A hybrid plant is produced by cross pollinating two different parent plants. Hybrid plants are labeled as such on seed packets and in catalog descriptions.)

Brown mustard or Brassica juncea develops pods that contain the seeds. Let flowers dry and ?go to seed.? As pods begin to dry and change color they may either fall off, or open up to let seeds drop. Collect the pods in a paper bag just before and as this starts happening. You can put the bag in a cool, dry location to continue the drying process. Sometimes the seeds separate on their own or you may have to do it.

Collect seeds on dry, sunny days to avoid any excess moisture. If needed, dry pods completely on sheets of newspaper for a week or so. Dispose of stems and leaves. A screen or colander works well to remove chaff. Store seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.

Mustard leaves are best eaten young. Once they start going to flower, they tend to get bitter. But you can taste-test to judge for yourself! I hope this information helps.

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