The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Foreign berries in my rye

nicodvb's picture

Foreign berries in my rye


in the rye berries I just bought there are few other and unwanted seeds that I don't know. I uploaded a high resolution picture of them

I guess I can recognize soft wheat and oat, but I'm very curious about the small round black one at the center. It looks a bit like pepper but surely it's not. I hope it's not ergot. Please, tell me it's NOT ergot or I'll become more paranoid than usual ;(



mrfrost's picture

From where did you buy?


nicodvb's picture

from a shop of organic food very common here in italy.

frankwalta's picture

It would help identify the round seed if the store knows the origin of the rye berries.  If the origin of the rye is North America, it could very well be vetch.    Where I live, in the Southern plains, pigweed seed is much smaller than the seed in the picture and is yellowish in color.  So, don't think its pigweed (also called lamb's quarter and many other names). 

I agree that it looks as if it might be partially digested.  However, that suggests that the seed was not harvested with the rest of the grain and was deposited later. 

You could plant it and see what it looks like.  After it sprouts, if it has compound serrated leaves and a pungent odor, I suggest you destroy it. 

pmccool's picture

that I found when I googled the term.  Those tend to look more like an elongated caraway seed, but black in color.  

I'm not sure that the round object is a seed.  The surface texture makes me think of something that has already been through something else's digestive tract.  If that's the case, and if it's the only one in the whole bag, then you are well within USDA limits for foreign material.  If that's what it is, but there are a whole lot of them, I'd say ask for a refund.  A peppercorn, it's not.  You might want to cut into it to see if that helps with identification.  

And, hey, it could be a seed.


nicodvb's picture


It's pretty tough, hard to believe that it's been "digested" ;)

breadbaby's picture

The round one might be a weed seed of some sort, possibly pigweed, which has very small black seeds.  The odd-balls in your rye put me in mind of what it must have been like in the old days, before herbicides and when grain was harvested and processed by hand...the old-timers must have had lots of odd-ball seeds mixed in with their grains.

p.s.  To get a look a ergot, just go to Google Images and search on "ergot" or "Claviceps purpurea".  It will bring up beautiful pictures for you.

p.p.s  Demeter "clad in robes of Purple" is ergot.

nicodvb's picture

well, this is relieving.


sobithongie's picture

It's possible the seed is common vetch (Vicia Sativa): .  Organic farms may employ vetch as a cover crop; sorting equipment doesn't remove all of the vetch ... at least that's my experience where I live.  A local farm has rye with as much as 1.5% vetch seed, by weight.  I've looked into this, and there are neurotoxic risks associated with regular consumption of common vetch seed.  I still use the rye from this source, but I hand pick out the vetch!