[gardeners] recognizing seeds

margaret lauterbach (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sun, 10 Jan 1999 08:04:44 -0700

Folks, please learn to recognize seeds by their appearance.  I know there
are some that so closely resemble another plant that it is difficult to
distinguish, but you should be able to distinguish a watermelon seed from a
bean.  A friend of many years went to Egypt in October, and asked what I'd
like for her to bring me.  I told her cucumber seeds.  When she returned,
jubilant that she had gotten me what I wanted, she mailed me a packet.  I
called to ask her what the plastic bags therein contained.  

One,said she, was true saffron.  The real thing.  Well, I'm sorry to tell
you this, but this is dried safflower blossoms.  I hope you didn't pay a
lot for it.  It's okay, I do use safflower blossoms for saffron.  You just
have to use a lot more than the recipe calls for...

She was dubious about my identification, but she continued.  And the brown
stuff are your cucumber seeds!  No, it's not, I said.  It's EGYPTIAN
cucumbers, says she.  Nope, sorry.  It's a bag of poorly cleaned seeds for
some kind of umbellifera.  Caraway?  carrot?  "Well, just plant some of the
seeds and see what comes up."  Okay, but I'll guarantee you that it won't
be cucumbers.  

She said cucumbers were served at every meal.  Didn't she wonder at the
little white seeds in the cucumber?  Nope.  She is a retired high school
teacher, and the rest of her party were teachers.  Others bought "cucumber
seeds" and "true saffron" too.  Sigh.  Margaret L