A bagful of poppy seeds

WITH A paper bag in my pocket I strolled into town, ready to do a little bit of foraging along the way.

I bake bread a couple of times a week and always have a supply of poppy seeds to incorporate in the dough or sprinkle over the crusts. But why buy when you can get them for free?

They’re not hard to find. The ground outside some blocks of social housing have been turned into wildflower meadows and at their height they look spectacular.

The project has been put on hold this year but the area has become self-set and there are plenty of crimson field poppies ablaze at the height of summer.

But I wait for the flowers to fade and the seed pods to ripen. They turn from green to blue-grey to brown and little windows open just below the top for the seeds, myriads of them, to sprinkle out in the breeze.

Unless, of course, I get to them first. It’s coming to the end of the poppy foraging now but even so I managed to collect a couple of tablespoons worth of seeds this week.

Pop the heads into a paper bag and work your way along the poppies. You’ll find the seeds tumble out and collect in the bottom of the bag. Resist the urge to crack the pods open for any last seeds for you’ll only get little shards of pod.

Then remove the heads and you’ll be left with the seeds which you can funnel into a suitable container. There is no need to dry them, they will be dry enough already.

I won’t get enough to last me all year but it will for a few months as I have collected them on a few trips out. That will spare me spending a few pennies!

I like the thought of saving dough when I make my dough . . .