French Vanilla Quinoa
Matures in 100 days (500 Open-pollinated seeds)
This new variety reaches 2-2.4m (6-7′) tall. Plants produce fewer branches when spaced 30cm (12″) apart in rows 40cm (16″) apart. French Vanilla Quinoa with the large heads ripen uniformly, making harvest more straight forward than in varieties with many large branches. French Vanilla quinoa seeds are white or buff in colour.. To harvest quinoa seeds, cut the seed heads about 60cm (24″) down the stem and gather them for drying in small bundles. Dry the bundles indoors, out of direct sunlight. Then bash the bundles inside paper yard waste bags, and the seeds will fall out. It is then easy to separate the dense seeds from the light chaff.. The seeds can be ground into a flour that is gluten free, or simply cooked like rice. Organically Grown. 500 Seeds.
Direct sow in late April to the end of May, while night temperatures are still cool. Optimal soil temperature for germination: 18-24°C (65-75°F). Seeds should germinate in 4-10 days.
Sow 5mm (¼”) deep, 10 seeds per 30cm (12″), and thin to 25-35cm (10-14″) between plants. If growing for baby leaf production, plants can be spaced closer together.
Ideal pH: 6.0-7.5. Use a well-drained, loamy soil with added orgnaic matter. Keep weeded, but otherwise quinoa is drought tolerant and undemanding. It’s a great plant for xeriscaping and looks good at the back of a floral border.
Harvest any time after seeds have changed from green to their calico colors, even after light frost.
How To Harvest Quinoa:
These tall plants produce masses of seeds, each seed resulting from the pollination of a single flower in their beautiful inflorescence's (flower clusters). When the seeds are fully ripe and ready for harvest, they will fall out of the seed head easily. If part of the seed head is grasped in hand, the hard little seeds should easily dislodge. Our favorite method for harvesting the seeds is to bash the heads about inside paper yard waste bags. These are the right size to catch all the seeds and chaff as it is separated and freed from the seed heads. If you squeeze and twist the seed heads, you will hear the hard, dense seeds falling into the bag. Process all the dry seed heads this way, and then collect the contents of the bag in a large bowl. As the stalks dry, the seeds will become looser, and begin to fall from the seed heads. It’s useful to lay a bed sheet or tarp below the hanging stalks in order to catch any that fall. It may be prudent to allow the seeds (and chaff) to continue drying in the bowl. If so, be sure to mix the contents of the bowl regularly so it dries in a uniform way. Separating seeds from chaff can be a messy affair. It can be done outdoors on a windy day simply by pouring the contents of the bowl into another. The chaff is much lighter and less dense than the seeds, and some of it will blow away each time one bowl is poured into another. This can also be done (we’ve done it!) indoors using a bed sheet and a table fan. Lay out the bed sheet to catch the chaff, and pour the seeds from one bowl to another in front of the fan. After five or six “pours,” the seeds will be quite free from chaff, but the process can be repeated until you are satisfied.
Quinoa seeds are coated with a bitter substance called saponin. They require rinsing prior to cooking to remove the saponin. Rinse quinoa as you would rice, in several bowls of cold water. This will free any remaining particles of chaff as well.