We are talking about ways to clean and preserve amaranth in cases where experience is still being gained, and the cultivation of this culture takes place in small areas. Harvesting and preserving it is possible at low material cost, without investment in special equipment.
Manual amaranth cleaning
Some consider this method to be almost backward, but for individual farmers, farmers who take their first steps in growing amaranth, it is quite acceptable. They talk about this on thematic resources, forums. It is interesting that manual amaranth harvesting is also suitable for those plant growers who have already gained some experience in growing this crop, but do not plan to expand the area under it for any reason.
Sometimes preference is given to manual cleaning due to the characteristics of amaranth. As you know, its grain is very small in size and is characterized by increased flowability. Therefore, the equipment for cleaning and transporting such grain should have increased tightness.
When harvesting amaranth, panicles are manually cut, which are then dried and threshed, and the resulting grain is blowed under a stream of air. In this case, a normal household fan can be used at home. As practice shows, the most common are two options for the simplest harvesting technology.
Dried panicles are rubbed through a metal grate and then sifted through sieves of various calibers. The practice of using even a household sieve is known, through which housewives usually sift flour, but in this case it is recommended to sift the grain 3-4 times. Depending on the variety and yield, 200-250 grams of grain is obtained from one plant.
Dried panicles of amaranth with seeds are passed through grain rollers, and the resulting grain is sieved through a sieve. You can also separate the seeds from the husk by shaking and rotating them in a flat metal container. In this case, the seeds will “settle” to the bottom, and the husk will remain on the surface. By removing the husk from the surface, it is possible to achieve a sufficiently high purity of the grain. After this, the seeds are left to melt under a stream of air.
There may be differences in the volume of manually harvested grain. According to users, a lot depends on the variety, and if it is high-yielding, then from one plant you can collect up to 1 kg of grain, and this is about half a million seeds.
According to users, it is also important to prepare cut panicles for peeling. This will help reduce grain loss and prevent the occurrence of its possible diseases. So, cut panicles are recommended to be laid out in a well-ventilated area for 7-10 days. Then panicles can simply be rubbed between the palms. After that, it is recommended to wipe the seeds through a sieve and blow them in front of the air stream. All grain obtained should be sent to dry again. If this is not done, excess moisture is formed, due to which the grain will lose its value.
The use of grown and harvested amaranth
Amaranth grown even in small volumes can be used with great benefit. Green mass and grain are successfully used in livestock, goes to feed the poultry. At the same time, a significant weight gain of animals and birds is observed, and their incidence rate is reduced. The quality of the final product also improves. It is proved that amaranth in its nutritional value significantly exceeds the alfalfa known to the consumer, both in protein content and in amino acid composition. Having in its composition a large number of carotenoids, vitamin E, squalene, macroelements K, P, Mg, Fe, this plant has a powerful effect on the immune, endocrine systems of animals. Amaranth also has inherent powerful antiparasitic, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Users share their experience using amaranth at a culinary level. Thus, it is noted that when amaranth flour is added to wheat bread, it does not stale longer and becomes more useful. The leaves taste like spinach and are great for adding to a salad. But they can be preserved and fermented. To do this, chop the leaves with a blender, add your favorite seasonings, put them in a jar, add a spoon of already sauerkraut and pour brine at the rate of 1 tablespoon per 0.5 liters of water (the brine should not be hot). Such a workpiece can be used as a sandwich spread or salad dressing. Another option is also proposed regarding how to pickle amaranth leaves: you can simply sprinkle them with salt or sugar and put them in a container in this form.
To dry amaranth, you can cut it, put it in a room with good ventilation and mix it periodically. You can also collect amaranth in small bunches and hang them from the ceiling. This will not only preserve the beneficial properties of the plant, but also fill the room with a pleasant aroma. You can check whether the amaranth has reached its condition by rubbing it in the palm of your hand: if it crumbles, then it is already ready for use. In addition, dried greens can be crushed and stored in plastic bags, linen bags or glass jars. Dry seeds are stored exactly the same.
You can freeze plants with whole inflorescences or in crushed form. The flower must first be rinsed with water, and then placed in a bag and sent to the freezer. This will preserve not only the appearance of the plant, but also its beneficial properties.
In any case, growing amaranth and preserving it correctly, you can provide yourself with vitamins and biologically active substances for the next winter.
Benefits not only for themselves but also for the earth
Practice has shown that amaranth improves soil fertility, stimulates the vital activity of soil microorganisms. For this reason, this plant is recognized as one of the best green manure, which, as you know, is the basis of the organic farming system. Siderats are capable of:
- for a long time to preserve living roots in the soil, the secretions of which feed on the living organisms that inhabit the soil;
- help increase the yield potential of the subsequent crop;
- improve soil permeability to water and air;
- stop water and air erosion.
After amaranth, the soil structure improves significantly. After all, the roots of this plant are quite powerful and can penetrate to a depth of 2-6 meters. Thanks to deeply penetrating roots, the topsoil is also improved, as elements that are inaccessible to plants with a superficial root system are pulled up.
In the area where amaranth grew, potato harvests, for example, are significantly better than where the predecessor was a different crop. In addition, the area after amaranth becomes much cleaner. The fact is that amaranth leaves behind a huge supply of nutrients in the soil, and they enable the subsequent plant to develop faster and get ahead of the weeds in development.
Users are also advised not to soil amaranth residues after harvesting. The remaining stems and roots play the role of mulch, which protects the soil from drying out and prevents the formation of a compacted crust on the soil.
It is also important to note another amaranth ability. So, the plant not only produces nitrogen for itself, but also saturates the soil with it. Amaranth, as a powerful green manure, also provides the earth with a large amount of phosphorus, potassium and other useful substances.