More about Quinoa Plant
People know about the quinoa which they could buy from the supermarket and immediately cook without going through the hassle of planting the seeds of quinoa and then harvesting them, but there are those who enjoy the whole phase of planting, whether it is related to quinoa or not, and thus search for the pieces of information from which they will learn to plant quinoa and at the same time prepare it and have it ready for their meals. Quinoa is a healthy seed that delivers different benefits for the human body and not just that, but it could be easily prepared and could at the same time keep the body fulfilled.
Quinoa has always been perceived as a grain although it is considered more of a seed and it is a flowering plant that comes from the amaranth family Amaranthaceae which could be cooked and prepared in only 25 minutes to prepare a meal that is fulfilling and one that could deliver several benefits to the body at the same time.
Can You Grow Quinoa?
For all those addicts who keep asking about growing quinoa and whether this is considered a possible thing or not, we should mention that quinoa could be planted and grown at home but there are different tips that the person should follow in order to grow it in the right way and avoid any problems that might appear at the end of the road.
In order to grow quinoa correctly and succeed at this process, you should plant the quinoa in full sun and well-drained and fertile soil. A lot of people think that the quinoa they are growing is not ending up being successful because it takes time to grow and thus they think that it is not turning to be successful with them, but it actually takes between 90 and 120 days in order for it to grow and for you to be able to harvest it.
Growing quinoa will turn out to be more successful in the northern weathers and for the northern gardeners because it needs a cool weather that is not more than 90 degrees. Among the different tips that should be followed when it comes to growing quinoa, it is important to mention that quinoa is actually an easy crop to be grown but those who will go through the process should make sure that they are not growing them in containers because the crop is too large and if grown in a container it will grow a tiny harvest.
How to Grow Quinoa?
Growing and harvesting quinoa is not a difficult or a hard process that you will fail to keep up with, but there are actually different tips and steps which you should follow in order to succeed at the process and not end up with a failed harvest out there. Quinoa plants are not just going to provide you with a healthy meal to prepare, cook, and eat, but it is also going to provide you with other benefits such as the red and purple flowers that it produces before going into the form of seeds, which will give the place you are planting the seeds in a different and cheerful look.
Like lots of other seeds which are grown out there, quinoa could be cooked on its own and could also be part of a meal you are preparing, which is another benefit to gain from growing and harvesting quinoa; you could have it in different ways and with different things. There are some basics to relate to when it comes to quinoa and to the process of growing and harvesting it, and these should be followed to succeed at the whole thing in the end and not suffer from having a failed harvest. These different basics include:
- Quinoa should be grown in warm soil, one that has been warmed up to approximately 60 degrees, which is usually in the very early spring and it should be always grown directly in the soil.
- When it comes to planting the quinoa, it is important to clear the beds and remove all the weeds.
- Plant the quinoa seeds in rows and only about one-fourth of an inch deep.
- When the seeds start to sprout, thin them and space the plants approximately 10 inches apart.
- Always be careful and never pull up quinoa and leave the weeds because they might be mistaken for weeds; they look very similar to the lamb’s quarter, a common garden weed.
- Quinoa likes and prefers the dry soil so it is okay to avoid watering it so much unless the soil is exceptionally dry, because it will thrive with minimal water conditions.
Harvesting Quinoa Plants
After following the rules related to planting the quinoa seeds, it is now the time to know how you should harvest them correctly before either going to the step of saving and storing them or else to the step of cooking them. Harvesting the quinoa seeds needs some steps to be followed because the timing is important in addition to the way it should be picked up in order not to ruin the seeds at the end.
Quinoa is ready to be harvested when the leaves have fallen off leaving just the dried seed heads. The seeds of quinoa could be easily stripped upwards off the stalk with the hands but while they are wearing gloves. It is important to watch the seeds when they should be harvested according to the change of the weather because it might affect them; if it rained on the dried seeds, they might germinate, and extreme hot weather and warm might inhibit the fruit set.
Being part of the amaranth family, you have to know that amaranth keeps on flowering until hit by the first hard frost. The seed will usually ripen many weeks before that, usually after about three months. They always believe that the best way to know whether the seed is harvestable or not is to rub the seeds between your hands gently and see whether the seeds will fall readily in the hands or not, since this is considered the easiest way to harvest the seeds of quinoa; through bending the plants over a bucket and then rubbing gently the seed heads between the hands.
It is not considered a good idea to cut the seeds and let them dry inside the place because they will become extremely bristly and the whole thing might not succeed, it is better to harvest the seeds in the right dry weather to receive something that has succeeded at the end of the road. The only step that should be taken when it comes to drying the seeds of quinoa is leaving them on trays in the sun or placing them near an indoor heat source in order not to mold in storage; make sure to stir them during this phase occasionally in order to give them the chance to dry as much as possible before being stored in air-tight containers in cool places.
Saving the Seeds and cooking them
Knowing when to plant quinoa, how they are supposed to be planted, and how they are supposed to be harvested, it is now the time to know how to save the seeds before learning to prepare them for cooking and going through the different steps of cooking the quinoa seeds correctly.
It is important to make sure first that the quinoa seeds are dry enough so that you could store them because if they are not yet dried, you could not store them yet. To know whether the seeds are ready to be stored or not, you should use your fingernails; you will push your fingernail into the seed, if you can push a slight dent into it then it means that the seeds are not dry enough yet and you should wait more for them to dry. There are those who tend to harvest their seeds because it is the right time for it, but those should know that completing the process could happen inside the place in order to make those seeds ready to be used and eaten.
The seeds of quinoa should be stored in tight containers in cool places and they could live up to six months and sometimes they even live more than that. After planting quinoa, knowing how to harvest and store it, it is important to know that before the cooking phase, quinoa should be prepared and this preparation is all about washing the seeds of quinoa thoroughly. To wash the seeds of quinoa, you should place them in a fine mesh strainer and put them under the water for a couple of seconds and you could even use your hands to help in the washing process and make it faster.
When you finish the washing phase, which is important because the seeds of quinoa are covered with the saponin layer that could make the seeds taste bitter but which are important because they protect the seeds from insects, comes the step of cooking the seeds of quinoa which does not take more than 20 minutes and is all about boiling the water, cooking the seeds of quinoa, and then letting the seeds drink the water found there, and then using a fork to separate the seeds from one another at the end. Some people cook quinoa in things other than water, but we always recommend water as it is the healthiest choice and option out there.
Using quinoa seeds for planting is definitely an option and could be done for those who admire the planting thing and could spend a good time to take care of their plants and the harvest they are doing. Quinoa is a healthy seed that could bring different benefits for the body and could be also cooked in no time through following some easy steps out there and that is why learning more about the tips and steps related to planting, harvesting, storing, preparing, and then cooking it are all considered important and beneficial. Just follow these important and different tips and you will be halfway through the process of planting and harvesting quinoa all by yourself and with using your efforts.