Methods for Saving Dill Seeds
Saving dill seeds will very much depend upon the reason you are saving them. If you are saving them to use in pickles you will select the seeds when they are at the right stage of development for your recipe.
Saving dill seeds for flavor is only really possible for the mature dry seeds that have turned brown. The green seeds contain too much water so must be preserved in the pickle vinegar. The seed pods can be harvested at any time. The seeds produce the most flavor when they are brown but the green seeds produce a delicate version that is very popular. The longer the dill seeds are in the vinegar before the product, the greater the concentration of dill flavor.
Saving dill seeds for sowing is quite straightforward. The dill flowers produce a pod in which the seeds grow. Collect these pods as they turn brown and before the seed is scattered as the pods open. If you want the seeds to dry as much as possible in the plant, you will have to make muslin or cheese cloth bags to contain the pods while they are maturing. The bags will catch the seeds as they fall.
The best seeds will be from the later plants to bloom. Probably the late summer sowings will produce the best seeds. Look for particularly vigorous specimens and aim to save the seeds from those as the first choice.
Lay out the pods in an area where they will be able to dry completely. For successful long-term seed storage the seed must be absolutely dry before being stored. Many seeds will fall out of the pods so have a collection sheet underneath the pods to catch them. Dill seeds should not be stored while in the pods so rub the pods between your hands over large sheets of newspaper to release any remaining seeds.
It is best to store seeds in the total absence of any chaff or other foreign material. The seeds can be winnowed by pouring them from a height of about 2 feet in front of a gently blowing fan. The chaff should blow clear of the seeds. After winnowing leave the seeds somewhere warm and dry to complete the drying process.
The best way to save seeds is in air-tight glass jars. All glass jars with lids can be made air tight by using adhesive tape around the lid to seal it. Glass is the best material to use because the seeds can be checked and seen without breaking the seal and a label can be stored inside with the seeds to avoid confusion if the label falls off the jar.
Once the seeds are in the jars they should be kept in a cool, dark place. Dill seeds will keep for several years but you should check them regularly to ensure that the jars are still air tight and that no molds have started developing.