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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone grow poppy seeds?

Also, I'm having trouble finding a lot of info abt the nutritional profile of poppy seeds and poppy seed oil.

For those of you who have only tasted store-bought poppy seeds -- you haven't lived. There is nothing in the world that compares to plucking a ripe poppy fruit, pouring the fresh poppy seeds into the palm of your hand, and gobbling them up. Months old poppy seeds found in stores -- their oils have undergone a change in character. I'd dare say that poppy seeds seem to me to be the most likely reason that the ancients began cultivating poppies, and that making drugs from the plants was an afterthought that came 100's of years later. The seeds are high in protein too. And they are just wonderful, wonderful wonderful in all kinds of recipes. My eastern European grandmother used to make a couple of kinds of eastern European style pastries filled with mixtures of poppy seeds and fruit. Yes the dough probably had eggs in it -- but the filling was what made them special. She also used to give the us babies poppy-straw tea, for ear-aches, to the chagrin of my United-States-assimilated mother, who believed in coal-tar aspirin.

I don't know where my city-living grandmother got the fresh fruits filled with seeds or the poppy straw, but I think she must have had a suburban friend who grew them in a little backyard garden.

My grandmother was never arrested for it but, unfortunately, I would not think it is a good idea to grow poppy plants in the United States, due to the tremendous cultural pressure against it.

By the way, you do not get a significant amount of morphine or any other analgesic, from poppy seeds, even if you eat huge quantities. The reason your urine can test postive for opioids if you eat poppy seeds, is that the tests used to test urine for the presence of opiods react the same way to metabolic breakdown products of non-drug poppy-seed constituents, as they react to opioid drugs.

You would think that with the huge production of legal poppies worldwide, for use in the gigantic industry of producing legal morphine, codeine, oxycodone (ingredient in percodan), and hydrocodone as well as the huge illegal production of opium and heroin, that poppy seeds and poppy seed oil would be cheap and abundant. Poppies will grow productively everywhere. That is, anywhere you can grow anything, you can grow poppies. They should be a vegetarian specialty because of their oil and protein. And they should be cheap.

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.
 

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Last I knew it is illegal to grow poppyseeds in the US, CANADA and numerous European countries. So I doubt very many people do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
JLRodgers writes:

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Last I knew it is illegal to grow poppyseeds in the US, CANADA and numerous European countries. So I doubt very many people do.

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I don't know if it is illegal, or if many people grow poppies or not. However, is it illegal to grow marijuana in these same places? If so, does this mean that therefore very few people grow it? Are not illegal opioids just as popular, if not more so, than illegal marijuana? And what about making alcohol illegal in the US? Did this dampen alcohol production? Historical evidence tells us that, in the United States, before opioids were made illegal, except by prescription, they were just as poplular, among all classes of people, as alcohol or marijuana ever were, if not more popular. Why did poppy-growing become limited, if it did, while alchohol production and marijuana growing, never became limited? It doesn't seem likely that the illegality factor, if there is one, could have been the reason.

Where my grandmother grew up, in eastern Europe, poppy seeds were the main reason for growing poppies -- the were a strong part of the cultural diet -- and the medicinal parts of the poppies were just thought of as a by-product of the nutritional part. You grew poppies for food, and hoarded the seeds all winter as a valuable source of protein and food oil, and a fortunate by-product is you also had more poppy-straw on hand too, than you ever would need to make tea, just in case you got an ache or a pain. There was so much extra poppy straw that you used most of it for compost and mulch, rather than for tea, and rather than for for making morphine or heroin out of.

I am not sure, but I thought it was still quite legal to grow opium poppies in many eastern European countries, and in many Scandinavian countries, for the seeds, or the flowers, and that only collecting and selling opium or extracting morphine from the opium or the plants, was illegal. So I figured we might have some European or Scandinavian veggieboarders who grew poppy seeds, or even US veggieboarders who knew more about the law, and poppy-seed growing, than I do, and who grew poppy seeds.

Has making opium and opiods illegal increased their value? Opium is said the be the trade-good that terrorists used to buy weapons. If opium were legal, would its value in this regard become the way poppy straw 80 years ago, for my grandmother? Good for mulch, and useless for trading for weapons? Have legislators, in their zeal to prevent people inclined toward self-abuse from abusing themselves with recreational drugs, ended up making people inclined toward hard work and self-esteem, the target of airplane-hijacking terrorists?
 

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Are the poppys the same ones that most of us in the east grow in our gardens? I have always had a huge patch of poppys and so do most of the gardeners around here. They may be different but the seeds look the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bean writes: "Are the poppys the same ones that most of us in the east grow in our gardens? I have always had a huge patch of poppys and so do most of the gardeners around here. They may be different but the seeds look the same."

Most of the poppies sold in seed catalogs in the US are for species that do not produce morphine. For the most part, only Papaver somniferum produces morphine. Typically sold in the US are Papaver rhoas. Yes, the plants and seeds look rather similar. However garden seed catalogs in Britain often feature papaver somniferum. From what I can figure, it is legal to sell the seeds! And legal to buy the seeds, according to US federal law. The seeds seem to be exempt from federal laws against selling them. However local laws can be added on to federal laws, and I do not have enough legal research knowhow to comment on the legality. There seems to be a lot of disagreement, even among the supposed "experts" as to what the legalities are.

If seeds were illegal it would not be legal for grocery stores to sell them! It would not be legal for bakeries to buy them and put them in baked goods! But it may remain illegal to sprout them! Because then you would have "plants" and not the exempt seeds. So perhaps you might want to keep those poppy seeds on your spice shelf away from water!

I don't think anyone has ever been arrested for accidentally-occuring little sprouts in a puddle on their kitchen counter, but have only been arrested if it is clear they are intentionally growing poppies, for whatever reason, even just for the seeds. Actually the usual scenario tho seems to be that if you are growing poppies for flowers or seeds, your poppies are just plucked out and carted away and you are not arrested -- unless you are someone who is outspoken in favor of growing poppies, and at the same time you suggest violating the law to grow them, if such violation is necessary.

Those of us who neither grow poppies, nor advocate violation of the law, don't seem to be the target of police action. Personally i don't know enough about the situation to even "advocate" changing the law. I only suggest that perhaps, if poppy-growing is against the law, and I don't even know for sure if it is, perhaps the laws should be rethought -- given how much better fresh poppy seeds taste than those that have been on a shelf for weeks.

Although an alternative might be transporting refrigerated or frozen poppy seeds -- currently most poppy seeds are not refrigerated. They will be edible for years without refrigeration -- they won't become at all dangerous, only their "fresh-taste" characteristics will degrade. So refrigeration is never used. But perhaps this might be an alternative to growing your own, if you want freshness. Personally, I would prefer to grow my own.

The poppy seeds from papaver somniferum are generally considered to be far culinarily superior to those of Papaver rhoas, however I believe you can eat Papaver rhoas sees without harm (tho not of course seeds packaged for gardening, which may be treated with fungicides and insecticides).
 

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I too remember eating poppy seeds directly from my mother's garden. You're right, Soilman; they're delicious, and wonderful compared to what you can buy in the store.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
mouse writes:

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I too remember eating poppy seeds directly from my mother's garden. You're right, Soilman; they're delicious, and wonderful compared to what you can buy in the store.

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In my opinion, this alone is sufficient reason to lift any and all restrictions against growing opium poppies, anywhere. Do we ban aeresol spray paints, because some idiots inhale them? Yet spray paints could easily be replaced by brush-on paints -- all that would happen is that some painted items wouldn't look quite as "slick." There is no substitute tho, for the astonishing nutritional value and amazing taste value of fresh poppy seeds. Stale poppy seeds are almost like a entirely different food. Yet our lawmakers act as if minor details in the external appearance of metal lawn furniture are infintily more important than fundamental good nutrition for children and adults, and being able to enjoy a variety of wonderful foods.

By the way I think it was apricots that my went into my grandmother's pastry fillings, as well as poppy seeds. And yes, she bought fresh apricots. I can't get decent fresh apricots these days either. They all have no sugar, and very poor texture and moisture content. 30 years ago you could occaisionally get good apricots. They seem to be extinct now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
By the time you get these pods, it may be many months since they were picked, and the seeds may not be a lot fresher than in health-food store packages of poppy seeds. Also, the seeds tend to get lost, since many varieties of poppy fruit have holes in them (at the top) that allow, in nature, for wind dispersal of the seeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I might add that depending on cultivar grown, and soil conditions, the amount of morphine in an poppy fruit can vary enormously. It is quite conceivable that the fruits they are selling for decorative purposes are indeed, best adapted to decorative purposes, having only tiny traces of morphine, or they may have lots of morphine-- if they are recommending that you don't use their fruits for their morphine content, then there is no need for you to know what the morphine content is, right, and no need for them to tell you? I wouldn't buy this product, expecting to get morphine from it, unless they were willing to tell me the average amt of morphine in a batch of produce. I'd be a sucker if bought them without getting that info first, wouldn't I?

$1.50 for a poppy pod is awfully expensive, too, for a dried-flower decoration with next to no morphine in it, isn't it? There are even cultivars of P. somniferum that are specifcally developed to be very low in morphine. They look much like any other cultivar. If this is what they sell you -- there isn't much you can do about it, is there? Do you trust these people?

Interestingly, low-morphine varieties tend to have seeds that are less tasty than ordinary varieties, although many cultivars with only moderate amounts of morphine, often have the tastiest seeds.
 

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I just found this link:

http://www.sandmountainherbs.com/poppy_blue_seeded.html

Since someone is selling seeds for growing poppies in the US, one would guess that it is legal to do so, at least on a federal level. I would definitely contact your local extension agency or local chapter of the Master Gardeners program (http://www.ahs.org/master_gardeners) to check with them.

Remember, just because someone is selling them on the internet doesn't always mean they should be, and just because they're selling them in Montana doesn't mean Hawaii or New York will let you grow them.

I vaguely remember my grandmother and my mother growing them when I was a child (not just the California poppies, but ones with big heads), but they were both not overly concerned with rules. *grin* They also had a fairly isolated property and only grew a small amount for using in bread making.

Good luck!
 

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you havent lived untill you have harvested fresh poppy seeds cooked them down loaded it into a syringe and...oh wait I think I hear courtny love calling me.
 

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There are MANY varieties of Poppy's. I always plant wildflower mixes for the birds and the bees and myself {cause they are so perty}. There are BIG red flowering ones {this is the type usually grown for seeds} the bright orange California poppys, small delicate ones with lovely pastel colors and the ever popular so called opium type, tall pale leafed with white to purple flowers.
 

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only 1 breed of poppy is used for the production of narcotics, there are hundreds more that are perfectly harmless.

Owning and growing poppies is perfectly legal...and delicious
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Only one species of poppy, Papaver somniferum, is used to make opium and morphine and other opioids. Only one species of poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the source of poppy seeds that are sold commercially. Whether you can eat the seeds from other species of poppy, I don't know. Papaver somniferum may produce relatively large quantities of relatively good-tasting seeds. What kind of seeds comes from other species, in terms of size, quantity, and flavor, I don't know. I've never heard of anyone eating the seeds from any species of poppy, except Papaver somniferum.
 
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