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Harvesting Amaranth

Posted by sdgeiger z6 PA (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 30, 08 at 17:32

Hello,

I have about 5, 5-6 foot burgundy amaranth plants that need harvesting. The way to harvest is to shake the head into a bag. The problem: The tiny burgundy flowers fall into the bag along with the amaranth seed/grain.

I've seen amaranth in the stores in bulk and it looks clean, no flowers. How does one separate the seeds from the flowers?

Thanks,
Scott


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Harvesting Amaranth

I haven't done this, but from reading about it, here is what I suggest.

First, put the seeds through a sieve of appropriate mesh to all the seeds to pass while catching the larger debris.

Then winnow the seeds by dropping them through the breeze of an electric fan to blow away the lighter flower particles. It will take some trial and error to get the right fan speed and distance.

Jim


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RE: Harvesting Amaranth

Hi, Jim,

I've already put it through some mesh and the parts that passed through were the seeds and small flowers the same size as the seeds. I've tried with various fan speeds and the amaranth is apparently the same weight as the remaining flowers.

There has to be another way...

Thanks,
-Scott


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RE: Harvesting Amaranth

Scott, method Jim suggested above is the right way to do it, but a suggestions which will help you out:

1) Let it all dry out very, very thoroughly. For at least three or four weeks in a warm, dry, airy place. This makes the chaff a lot less bulky, a lot lighter, and easier to separate from the seeds. But, most importantly, when there is still moisture in the chaff and seeds, they seem to want to stick together. When they are dry, they separate easily.

2) Before you try to clean it, take your hands and rub the seed mass repeated between the palms of your hands, applying enough pressure to break up any remaining seed heads, etc. Done right, it separates any remaining seeds from the chaff, and breaks up the chaff into smaller, finer particles.

2) I like to take mine outside in a large bowl and gently toss it around, allowing the chaff to blow off to the side and away from the bowl. A brezy day helps, but isn't really necessary. It takes a bit of practice to get the motion right so you don't lose the seeds over the side, and you should use a large, wide, fairly shallow bowl made of plastic so its lightweight.

4) Having a couple of different gauges of sieves helps, too -- ideally, one that the seeds WILL fall through, and another that they WON'T fall through --- this helps get the maximum amount of foreign particles out of the seed.


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