Quinoa, Pedro's Improved Red Faro - Chenopodium quinoa
Self-seeding annual, native to South America. This is one of the most highly productive food grains that is easily grown by home gardeners in the temperate north. Does particularly well for gardeners in the North and for mountain gardens where nights are cold.
Quinoa seed contains a lot of saponins and these must be leached out before cooking. After the seed is dry and winnowed, you can wash out the saponins by placing the seed in fabric bags (loosely, a couple of pounds in each bag) and running through the wash and spin cycles in the washing machine. Obviously, do not add soap - you are trying to get RID of soap. Immediately remove the seed from the bags and dry on screens in a warm place where there is airflow, stirring hourly until seed is dry, which takes a couple of days.
Cook quinoa the same way as one cooks rice, and the resulting grain is texturally pleasant and naturally nutty. Extremely concentrated food source. When eaten along with black turtle beans, and with a little tomato and garlic added, all essential amino acids will be present.
Approximately 300 seeds per pack.
Planting & Care
Soil and Water
- Plant prefers full sun and regular garden soil, prospering well where the nights are cool. The plants should be cultivated frequently during the summer, and watered well, but when the seed begins to mature, stop watering, as excessive water on the seed head can be deleterious.
Planting and Growing - Direct seed in spring, 1/4" deep and thin to 1 foot apart. Plants tend to lodge (heavy seed heads blown by wind!) so hill them up during the growing season to support.
Harvesting and Storage -Approximately 100 days to maturity. When the heads yield mature seeds when rubbed, cut the tops and dry them by hanging in the shade, on screens or by laying out on tarps in a greenhouse (generally takes a couple of weeks). Whack them (put down a sheet and a table screen on top) and the seed will fall down onto the sheet. After that, separate chaff from seed by screening and winnow the seed in the wind.
Winnow onto a sheet. Chaff and light (unviable) seed will fly away, while the good seed will hit the sheet. Do this several times, and the seed will be clean enough.