Seed Saving

Amaranth 

amaranth plants

Amaranth, that ancient Aztec of plants is one of my favorites for many reasons. Beside my obsession with growing things you can eat (what’s the point otherwise? I know, I know), Amaranth is a beauty to grow for its edible and aesthetic qualities. These plants can easily reach 12 or more feet tall—in one season. There are tons of varieties to grow, and it has a reputation for being an overachiever of plants, with tall billowy flowers, edible leaves (good in stir fries) and the grain they produce is a superfood in itself. It beats out quinoa and cous cous for it’s high protein value.

Also, they make great privacy fence for those unsightly neighbors, and literally grow like a weed, able to adapt to poor soils and part-shade (although they won’t be as happy). Plant as soon as frost has passed, raking these teeny, tiny seeds in, and by August, you’ll have an instant fence. Each plant produces thousands of poppy-like seeds, which you can harvest to make amaranth cereal, popped amaranth, amaranth muffins, grits, you name it.

I like to dry my seedheads in a bag for about a month, and then shake them out by threshing through a screen.

I admit, it is a little painstaking, and it makes you wonder how Bob Mills can possibly sell this stuff for 3 bucks a bag when it took me a better part of the morning to gather everything up, thresh away, and store. But, it was fun, in a garden geek out sort of way. If you need seeds, I now have plenty and would be happy to share!

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