I harvested some amaranth today–news of my latest dyeing attempt to follow on the craft blog–and noticed that some of it had gone to seed. A good amount, in fact. In fact, when I dumped the amaranth in the pot, there were tons of crinkly little sounds.

Amaranth pre-winnowed

So I did a little rubbing-seed-heads-together action over the pot, dumped the results into a white bowl, did it again until not so much came out anymore. Then I proceeded with the dyeing action. Then I came back, wondering how I would ever get the seeds out of all that detritus. I examined it closely. I noticed a bug. I blew. Chaff flew everywhere and I realized that (a) people had been getting grains out of dead plant since the dawn of agriculture and (b) I really ought to be outside.

On the back porch, I lifted handfuls of seed and blew gently as I left it fall between my fingers. Winnowing is wonderful–at least it is if you only have a small bowl; I imagine doing it with a year’s worth of wheat would get, shall we say, tiresome. At length most of the chaff was gone and I was able to examine my seeds. I’m going to sprout a couple, to be sure that they do, and then save some for next year. When next I harvest them–as I will; there’s an entire amaranth stalk sitting on my back porch and more still in the garden–I’ll try to save them for eating. Or perhaps I’ll just marvel over them some more.

Amaranth seeds close up