We pulled in all the quinoa before the worst of the rain started, and it’s been drying on a tarp indoors since then. This weekend, we decided to try to begin figuring out the harvest process.
First, we started with a pile of leaves, seeds, twigs, and various detritus.
We took several handfuls of the collection, and set it on top of a window screen, attached to a plastic storage bin.
Then, we brushed the quinoa across the screen, which forced the seeds (and some of the smaller bits of detritus) to fall through into the bin. We plucked out the larger bits of twigs and leaves, until nothing was left on the screen.
The result? This is definitely step one, only: lots of dust and inedible bits remain in the quinoa that landed in the bin.
Still, you can see we’re getting closer! The next step is probably winnowing… now if only the sun would come back!
This year’s big experiment was growing Quinoa. We eat quinoa quite a lot – it’s much healthier than rice or couscous, so it’s generally our replacement for both in recipes. When we found out we could grow it ourselves, of COURSE we had to give it a try!
Here’s the quinoa seed heads, cut from the plants (which grew up to 7′ tall!) and laid out on a tarp to catch the seeds. We may have waited a bit too long; some of the seed heads were quite dry and we lost a lot of seeds to the ground.
Dry seed heads. It’s tough to tell how much quinoa is there, because of all the undeveloped blossoms mixed in.
Actually, quite a bit of quinoa from that one little handful!! Of course, it’ll take some work to get ALL the seeds seperated from the chaff, but, we’re excited to have enough to at least make a meal with.. probably several! Next step is figuring out how to wash all the soapy, bitter saponin off of the seeds so they taste good enough to eat.