You probably don’t realize just how many seeds you actually eat. It might not have occurred to you that when you are eating chili, those kidney beans are actually seeds! The seeds we eat span across almost all types of vegetative categories. Legumes, grains, nuts, and even flower seeds are all something most people enjoy.
Beans (Legumes) This includes all beans, lentils, peanuts, and peas.
Grains (Corn, Oats, Barley) Rice also falls under this one but you have to get the right kind of grain (steel chopped isn’t exactly able to grow)
Nuts (Walnuts, Almond, etc) In raw form, these are seeds you can plant to grow more!
Vegetable Seeds (Pumpkin seeds, squash, etc). Often baked, seasoned, and enjoyed!
Flower Seeds (Mostly as a Spice) Celery, cloves, poppyseed, sunflower, etc.
While many of these seeds come to us in an altered form, if you can get them whole, you can plant them. Certain edible seeds, like beans, can be cooked, sprouted and eaten, or sprouted with the intention of growing and harvesting more beans. Oats, on the other hand, have to be a certain kind to be able to actually grow a sprout. If they are steel chopped or parboiled, the seed portion is dead and the edible goodness left behind. Peanuts out of the ground are plantable, boiled or baked peanuts aren’t.
One of the great things about eating seeds is that you have a stockpile (generally speaking) of seeds that could be planted at any time. Keep in mind that some foods we eat have been treated with chemicals and may make the seed no longer viable for growth. Do some research to be sure about it before you buy!
This is fantastic for both Homesteaders and Preppers alike: it’s very easy to store some beans or dried peas, some lentils or rice*. Not only is it food, it will grow even more food! One great way to make your food stretch and cut down waste is to sprout your beans first. There will be more food due to growth and it’s very tasty and good for you. Sprouted beans or barley make for some really great flavor in your favorite dish, too!
As stated above, many seeds some to us in an unplantable state. Many have been hulled or shelled. Some have been parboiled, baked, fried, or otherwise altered by heat that renders the seed ‘dead.’ So while you can grab a handful of pinto beans from the bag at the store and plant them (I’ve done it and yes, they produced pods I was able to dry!), popping open a jar of celery seed isn’t going to grow you a crop of celery! Side Note: Celery Seed isn’t from traditional celery. (source)
The downside to growing almost all of the items listed above is that the plants take up an incredible amount of space when compared to what you get out of them. Your pinto bean plant takes up the same amount of space as a green bean plant (generally speaking) and yet you get far more food from the green beans than you do from the pinto beans due to the drying process. Sunflowers are another one: they take up a huge amount of space but once you’ve processed it all, the few cups of seeds per plant may not be worth the garden space it took up. That is for each person to decide. I personally love seeing their bright and happy flowery faces staring drunk up at the sun in the middle of summer.
The seeds we grow around here include green beans and peas for the most part. Once we move to our dream homestead though, that will change considerably!