Learn all the tips and tricks by watching this video on harvesting and processing brown haole koa seeds.
Harvest haole koa pods that are brown, free from mold or insect damage, and fully dry. Sometimes you can visibly see signs of insects from the outside, and sometimes you’ll need to open it up to find little holes in the seeds (as shown in the image below). You can always open one from the tree you are harvesting and check it before harvesting more. It’s especially important to use a sealed container of some kind, as the brown seeds spread very easily. A good method is to use a bucket underneath the pods and simply pull them directly into your bucket and seal with a lid for transportation.
Peel open the brown haole koa pods to remove the small, hard, teardrop-shaped seeds. You will discard the outer pod and save the brown seeds for eating. Check again for mold or insect damage. Also, remove any seeds that look flat and shriveled as these will not swell during the soaking process. Some examples of what bad seeds look like in the image below.
Put brown seeds into a bowl with water. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 12 hours.
Some of the brown seeds may rise to the top during soaking, skim them off from the surface, and throw away.
Drain out the water and rinse seeds. Then, return seeds to the bowl and fill with water again to cover and set aside for another 12 hours. Note, you can rinse and refill with water as many times as you like. What you are looking for is any mold/bacteria/yeast formation on the surface of the water. Air temperature and other environmental factors will affect the soaking, so keep an eye on them. If there is small amounts of yucky stuff that form on the surface it isn’t a big deal, just wash it away and as long as the washed brown seeds smell good after a thorough rinse they are fine.
Drain water, rinse, and return to bowl with fresh water to soak for the final 12 hours. Note, some of the seeds will swell and plump up, this is good. The ones that don’t swell will be too hard to eat. Some seeds just take longer and will swell more with soaking over time.
Drain and rinse well, picking out any hard brown seeds that did not swell. They are now ready to use in your favorite recipes. If you want to store them for later use, put them in a container where they are covered in water and store in the refrigerator.