Poppy plants produce bright, colorful flowers that can be grown throughout most of the United States. Each flower eventually develops a seed head, which holds several tiny seeds. Poppy seeds have a delicate nutty flavor which makes them a popular addition to baked goods. The seeds can also be collected and stored until you're ready to plant them the next growing season. When extracting the seeds from the flower, you have to do it at the right time to ensure they are fully mature and worth saving.
Wait for the seeds to mature. Once you see a few grayish-brown seeds fall from the seed head, the seeds are ready to harvest. Do not harvest them before this point as they will not be mature.
Snap the seed head off with your fingers and put it in a paper bag.
Leave the bag open and let it sit in a well-ventilated area until the seeds dry, usually between one and two weeks. Once the pods feel brittle and seeds feel dry, they are ready for the next step.
Close the paper bag and shake it vigorously for 30 seconds. This will separate the seeds from the seed heads.
Pour the contents of the bag through a sieve over a bowl. Run your hands back and forth over the seeds to force the unusable seed head pieces through the sieve.
Put the seeds in a jar and seal the lid. Store the jar in a cool, dark area until you are ready to use the seeds.