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Super Green Thumb
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amaranth seeds

OK, so I grew some grain amaranth. I wanted to hurry up and harvest the seeds, before a million seeds got spread all over my yard.

So I just cut off the dry seed heads and rubbed them around in my very small mesh strainer with a bowl under it. That works very nicely for basil, the little black seeds come through and very little else. Worked out not as well with the amaranth. What I got was the tiny black seeds, plus a lot of small brown pieces and a few small green pieces. I think the brown/green is pieces of the seed pods.

So now what do I do? I think I could separate the seeds, by putting a small amount of the mixture at a time on a piece of paper and tilting it back and forth. The seeds are round and heavier and they tend to separate and roll off the paper leaving the chaff behind. But it would be time-consuming and I think I would end up with a few tablespoons of seeds.

Other people that have grown amaranth?

If I do separate it out and get my tablespoons of amaranth seeds, what do I do with them?

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I've had great luck by placing the chaff/seed mixture in a metal strainer, then going outside and blowing gently on the mix. The chaff is much lighter than the seeds and will blow off, leaving just seed in the strainer.

Industrially, for both Quinua and Amaranth the peladoras (grain separating businesses) have mesh screens that are the size of the grains but too small for the chaff, and these are covered in mix then shaken and subjected to air pressure. Quinua, because it has to be washed and dried before eating, also undergoes immersion in water, where the chaff floats up and the seeds sink.

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After trying every container with holes in your kitchen to screen out the big/small pieces, I'm pretty sure winnowing is the way to go but use very mild breeze -- adjust with fan at lowest setting located farther away as needed. Work on level ground spread with a clean white or solid colored sheet :wink:
(I actually spread some Kraft paper on top of the sheets so I could pick up the paper and pour out the seeds, but the seeds bounce on the paper and escape onto the sheets too.:roll:

I found that if you put the seed/chaff mixture in a metal bowl and swirl it around, all the chaff rises to the top and you can blow those away first.

I can't remember if with amaranth, you can also count on the seeds to sink and remaining dust/debris to float when washing before cooking....

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I found this site, may be this will help you?

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I have never grown amaranth for seed, just for use as an ornamental.

I'm also not too good with a winnowing basket but I can use one for wheat and I've grown that for a good number of years.

An approach that works a little better for me with wheat and I can also use if for brassica seed that I'm saving. What I do is climb up a step ladder and pour the seeds onto a cloth laid out on the lawn. How high I go on the ladder is determined by how much air movement there is in my backyard.

If only little chaff blows away, I just collect everything back in a bucket/bowl and go a step higher on my next attempt. I've never had much trouble with this - it just takes a little thought with a finger in the air to decide where the ladder is placed relative to the cloth. I may also have to hesitate if there is a gust. Usually, it is easy and successful - once I get up & down the ladder.


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I was going to say exactly what Applestar said.

Winnowing first though I wasn't sure about the seeds sinking like tomato seeds do. That would be another good way to do this.

If they sink just put them in a clear glass fill with water let settle for a minute gently pour off the gunk. Repeat until clear and all you have are seeds, than put on a coffee filter on a paper plate and let dry for a few weeks. If done this way make abslolutely sure they are dry before storage, But I'm sure you knew that. :D

Good luck RBG

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Thanks everyone. Having read this, I worked on "winnowing" in a small scale way, just by taking a small handful at a time and blowing on it gently. Put what was left in my hand into a new bowl and work on the next handful. That reduced the chaff by more than half, but I wouldn't call the seeds clean yet, but I think if I repeat the process with what I have left, they will be in pretty good shape.

I don't think I could do the ladder trick with these seeds. The seeds are so tiny and light, I think they would get pretty well scattered.

I just didn't have time yesterday to repeat the process. We were leaving to go see "A sense of wonder" Kaiulani Lee's one woman play about Rachel Carson. It is basically all Carson's words strung together with some narration about what was going on in her life at the time. Very moving. You really felt like you were in Carson's presence.

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