How did you spend your labor day? Picnicking? Watching a parade? Visiting family and friends?
harvesting amaranth seeds photo by lsimon
Next year you could harvest amaranth seeds. I have been posting how much I enjoy this plant. And how productive it is. We have harvested the leaves, and cooked them as greens. Early in the summer, the stems taste just like asparagus. And later in the summer we harvest the seeds.
The seeds ripen over several weeks. We have been collecting them for 4 or 5 weeks already. And they still keep coming, fewer now though.
When I first wrote about amaranth a reader asked how to harvest them. I had no idea, so we decided to plant some to see if we could find out.
It is really very easy. Look at the contraption V uses. From his stash of stuff in the garage, he has rigged an amaranth collection device. It requires a snow saucer and a bungy cord.
If you live in the south, you probably don’t have a snow saucer. Maybe you can ask for one for Christmas from your northern relatives. Or use a (clean) garbage can lid, turned upside down.
Any kind of cord works. And you can go cordless, harvesting with two people. One to hold the amaranth collection device, the other to massage the fluffy heads so the seeds fall out.
amaranth seeds and chaff photo by vsimon
You get seeds, chaff, and bugs. We let the mess dry for a day. Then blow gently across the amaranth collection device and the chaff floats away. Most of the bugs go too. You can pick out the ones that haven’t left the party yet.
From our small patch of amaranth we have harvested several pounds of seeds already.
We call amaranth a gluten free grain. It isn’t really a grain, we just use it like grains. It can be ground into flour for baked goods. I’ll probably just use the seeds for breakfast cereal and in soups. And not try to grind it.
Next year you can plant some amaranth of your own. We purchased seeds from Bountiful Gardens. We will plant a few seeds collected this year.
cleaned amaranth seeds photo by vsimon
Our plants this year had golden, red, or green flowers. The green flowers had black seeds. V separately collected seeds from each color of flower. He plans to plant a few of each next year, and see if they grow the same. And we will probably try some new varieties too.
Please tell us if you grow amaranth and how you like it. Or if you are inspired to try it.