Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Harvesting amaranth

As I am planning to go away for two or three weeks from Saturday I have started harvesting the amaranth, the seed would all be on the ground if I try to leave it till I get back.

 The plants are yellowing off now which is the first sign that they are nearly ready.
These are vegetable amaranth, not the seed/grain type so the seed heads are not as big as those grown for seed. The seed itself is no different between the types though.

This is a vegetable that should be better well known as it is so nutritious as well as easy to grow. It can be cooked any way you would cook spinach but amaranth is not bitter like spinach is.

To see if the seed is ready to harvest you put your hand around a head and squeeze. If there are more than a few seeds in your hand when you let go then you can pick the head.
This head is almost ready as there are only a few ripe seeds falling off - yes, they are incredibly tiny white seeds. I did pick this head as it will be too late when I get back and most of the seeds will ripen on the head as it dries a bit.
The seeds re so tiny and annoying to clean that I don't really think they are worth growing as a grain in the home garden.

 I place all the heads in buckets and then leave them in a dry spot to finish ripening and dry off a bit before cleaning the seed. When I am ready I 'massage' the heads and the seeds fall out. The harder part then is to clean the seed but it makes it easier if you pour the seed from one container to another outside in a bit of wind. The chaff is lighter and blows away..

I tend to get a bid sick of gathering amaranth seed so I lose a lot on the ground but you don't need much seed to sow a lot of beds in the spring.

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