Seeds are produced by plants and they vary in size from microscopic to the large “stones” of avocados or mangoes. Every seed contains a degree of residual moisture, even when ripe. In the case of seeds produced inside fleshy fruit such as oranges, papayas and melons, the outside of each pit is initially moist or sticky, and therefore needs to be dried before it can be stored.

Exposure to the sun dehydrates the seeds and even the interior of the seeds is also gets dried up properly. With the process of drying up seeds in the sunlight the seeds are less likely to be affected by mold, mildew, or other rotting agencies. Ideally, seeds should retain between three and seven per cent of moisture. In this condition, they can be stored for a year or more. However, if they are too sere or hard, germination will be difficult.

Many seeds are edible, and are dried for preservation and packaging. But if these small seeds are intended to be sown, excessive heat may remove too much moisture. In this case, it is better to dry them slowly.

Larger edible stones, for example the seeds of the areca palm (better known as betel nuts), can be safely left in the tropical sun. Firm and green when fresh, they cure in the heat and attain a wood-like consistency. Chilies may also be dried whole.

Fruit and vegetables are generally consumed in  green. The seeds of cucumbers, bitter gourds, sataws, peas and beans, for example, are rarely mature enough to be successfully germinated until the flesh is too ripe for eating. Left to their own natural devices, the seeds would only germinate once the protective flesh had rotted away.

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