Quinoa and its cousin fat hen


Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
we all know quinoa,the allowed pseudo grain ,and talking to a friend the other day found there is a common garden weed related to it
Quinoa (play /ˈkiːnwɑː/ or /kɪˈnoʊ.ə/, Spanish: quinua, from Quechua: kinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds.

looking up goosefoot we find
Chenopodium album is a fast-growing weedy annual plant in the genus Chenopodium.

In Britain the plant is considered a weed, and is known there as fat-hen[1][2] or goosefoot,[3] though these names are used for other Chenopodium species; or, more specifically, as white goosefoot,[3] lamb's quarters,[4] nickel greens,[citation needed] pigweed,[4] or dungweed,[citation needed]. (The name "fat-hen" or "fat hen" is also used for smearwort, a plant from a different genus.)

The plant is extensively cultivated and consumed in Northern India as a food crop,[5] and in English texts it may be called by its Hindi name bathua or bathuwa (बथुआ).[6]....The leaves and young shoots may be eaten as a leaf vegetable, either steamed in its entirety, or cooked like spinach, but should be eaten in moderation due to high levels of oxalic acid.[14] Each plant produces tens of thousands of black seeds. These are high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Quinoa is a closely related species which is grown specifically for its seeds.[15] It is also used as a medicinal plant in traditional African medicine.

Archaeologists analysing carbonized plant remains found in storage pits and ovens at Iron Age and Roman sites in Europe have found its seeds mixed with conventional grains and even inside the stomachs of Danish bog bodies.[16]

In India the leaves and young shoots of this plant are used in dishes such as Sarson Da Saag, soups, curries and in Paratha stuffed breads, especially popular in Punjab. The seeds or grains are used in phambra or laafi, gruel type dishes in Himachal Pradesh, and in mildly alcoholic fermented beverages such as soora and ghanti.[17]

Animal Feed

As some of the common names suggest, it is also used as food (both the leaves and the seeds) for chickens, hens and other poultry. However, the nitrates in the plant can be converted very efficiently to nitrites in the rumen of cattle, leading to changes in haemoglobin and reducing the ruminants' oxygen binding capacity.

so it seems to be a paleo food
and there is this
Some of the species cultivated by Indians for food are today considered undesirable weeds. Another name for marsh elder is sumpweed; chenopods are derisively called pigweed, although one South American species with a more attractive name, quinoa, is a health food store favorite. The reason for the unattractive names of former American food plants is probably because they are the colonizers of disturbed soil, the first fast-growing weeds to spring up when a natural or man-made event, such as a fire, leaves a bare patch of soil.

The process of domestication of wild plants cannot be described with any precision. However, Bruce D. Smith and other scholars have pointed out that three of the domesticates (chenopods, I. annua, and C. pepo) were plants that thrived in disturbed soils in river valleys. In the aftermath of a flood, in which most of the old vegetation is killed by the high waters and bare patches of new, often very fertile, soil were created, these pioneer plants sprang up like magic, often growing in almost pure stands, but usually disappearing after a single season, as other vegetation pushed them out until the next flood.

Indians, probably women, learned early that the seeds of these three species were edible and easily harvested in quantity because they grew in dense stands. C. pepo was important also because the gourd could be made into a lightweight container that was useful to a seminomadic band. Chenopods have edible leaves, related to spinach and chard, that may have also been gathered and eaten by Indians. Chenopod seeds are starchy; marsh elder has a highly nutritious oily seed similar to sunflower seeds.

In gathering the seeds, the women undoubtedly dropped some in the sunny environment and disturbed soil of a settlement, and those seeds sprouted and thrived. Over time, women learned to sow the seeds and to clear the ground of any competitive vegetation. The seeds which germinated quickest (i.e. thinner seed coats) and the plants which grew fastest were the most likely to be tended, harvested, and replanted. Over time, first through a process of unconscious selection and, later, conscious selection, the domesticated weeds became more productive. The seeds of some species became substantially larger and/or their seed coats were less thick compared to the wild plants. Conversely, when Indians quit growing these plants, as they did later, their seeds reverted within a few years to the size they had been in the wild.[11]

By about 500 BCE, seeds produced by six domesticated plants were an important part of the diet of Indians in the middle Mississippi River valley of the United States.[12]
[edit] The introduction of maize

The indigenous crops were replaced slowly by other more productive crops developed in Mexico: maize, beans and additional varieties of squash. Maize, or corn, was a relative late comer to the United States. The oldest known evidence of maize in Mexico dates from 6,700 BCE.[13] The oldest evidence of maize cultivated in the United States was found in Tornillo shelter New Mexico, forty miles north of El Paso, Texas. It was dated about 1,000 BCE.[14]

Maize was first grown in the eastern United States around 200 BCE, and highly productive adapted strains became widely used around 900 CE. The spread was so slow because the seeds and knowledge of techniques for tending them had to cross inhospitable deserts and mountains, and because new varieties of plants had to be developed to suit the cooler climates and shorter growing seasons of the northern regions of the continent. It seems that maize was adopted first as a supplement to existing agricultural plants, but gradually came to predominate as its yields increased. Ultimately, the Eastern Agricultural Complex was thoroughly replaced by maize-based agriculture;[15] Most EAC plants are no longer cultivated, and some of them (such as little barley) are regarded as pests by modern farmers.
worth growing even just as a feed for chooks and pigs

ADMIN NOTE: corrected spelling in subject field.


Padawan Learner
Re: Quinoa and its cusin fat hen

Good to know. Here is some planting info from saltspringseeds.com :

Soil Preference. Quinoa and amaranth are responsive to nitrogen and phosphorous. Plants grown in average garden soil will be four-feet to six-feet tall, while those grown in rich soil or compost may reach over eight feet. Optimum soil is a well-drained loam but both plants will do well in all but poorly aerated clay soils.

Varieties. Named varieties of amaranth and quinoa are increasingly available from seed companies. Most North Americans would be hard-pressed to describe the subtle differences in flavour between cultivars. Black-seeded varieties of amaranth stay quite gritty when cooked, so it is best to use these varieties just for their leaves. All the golden and light-colored amaranths I've tried are excellent cooked as whole grains and all have delectable greens.

Planting Times. Quinoa grows best where maximum temperatures do not exceed 90°F (32°C) and nighttime temperatures are cool. For most southern Canadian and northern U.S. sites, the best time to plant quinoa is late April to late May. When soil temperatures are around 60°F (15°C) seedlings emerge within three to four days. However, when quinoa seeds are planted in soil with night-time temperatures much above that, quinoa, like spinach, may not germinate. In this instance, it's best to refrigerate seeds before planting.

Amaranth is a warm season crop that requires full sun. Best germination occurs when soil temperatures range from 65 to 75°F (18-24°C). For southern Canada and the northern U.S., this usually means a late May or early June planting.

Sowing. The small seeds of amaranth and quinoa will germinate more successfully with a finely prepared surface and adequate moisture. Seeds should be sown no more than one-quarter inch deep in rows one and a half- to two-feet (45-60 cm) apart or wide enough to accommodate a rototiller between the rows without damaging the plants. Planting can be done by hand or with a row seeder. Plants should eventually be thinned 6 to 18 inches (15-45 cm) apart. (Thinnings make great additions to salad.)

One gram of seed will sow 50 feet (15 m) of row. An acre requires about one pound of seed.

Maintenance. Quinoa resembles lamb's-quarters and amaranth resembles red-rooted pigweed, especially in the early stages of growth, so it is best to sow seed in rows to make weeding less confusing. Sowing amaranth cultivars with purple leaves also simplifies weeding. Since seed is small, you can avoid considerable thinning by mixing it with sand or radish seed before sowing, as is sometimes done with carrots. Amaranth and quinoa are low-maintenance crops but weeds, especially at the beginning, should be discouraged by cultivation or mulching.

Soil moisture is probably sufficient until early June to germinate the seed. Given good soil moisture, don't water until the plants reach the two- or three-leaf stage. Quinoa and amaranth appear slow growing at first but both are extremely drought tolerant and do well on a total of 10 inches (25 cm) of water or less. As the plants reach about one foot in height, they start to grow very rapidly, the canopy closes in, weeds are shaded out and less moisture is lost through evaporation.

Harvesting. Quinoa is ready to harvest when the leaves have fallen, leaving just the dried seedheads. Seeds can be easily stripped upwards off the stalk with a gloved hand. Quinoa resists light frosts especially if the soil is dry. So long as maturing seed is past the green stage, frost will cause little damage and harvesting can be done a day or two later. Extreme hot weather and warm nights inhibit fruit set. It is important to watch the weather when quinoa is ready to be harvested: if rained on, the dry seed can germinate. If the heads are not completely dry, harvest them when you can barely indent the seeds with your thumbnail. They should then be thoroughly dried before storage.

Amaranth keeps on flowering until hit by the first hard frost. Seed will often ripen many weeks before that, usually after about three months. The best way to determine if seed is harvestable is to gently but briskly shake or rub the flower heads between your hands and see if the seeds fall readily. (Numerous small and appreciative birds may give hints as to when to start doing this.) An easy way to gather ripe grain is, in dry weather, to bend the plants over a bucket and rub the seedheads between your hands. My own preferred threshing method is to rub the flowerheads through screening into a wheelbarrow and then to blow away the finer chaff using my air compressor. Cutting and hanging plants to dry indoors does not work very well: the plants become extremely bristly and it is difficult to separate the seed from the chaff.

The best time to harvest amaranth commercially is in dry weather three to seven days after first frost—a condition not easily met in many places. Most presently available varieties maintain too high a moisture content to be harvested mechanically before a killing frost.

Clean quinoa and amaranth with screens, by winnowing, with a fan or other blowing device. After harvesting, it is important to further dry your crop to ensure it won't mold in storage. It can be left on trays in the hot sun or placed near an indoor heat source. Stir occasionally until it is as dry as possible. Store seed in air-tight containers in a cool dry place.

Threshing. Unlike beans or true grains, quinoa and amaranth have no hulls to remove. However, quinoa is covered with a bitter substance called saponin, which birds and deer won't touch. Because of this coating, quinoa requires thorough rinsing before cooking. One method is to put the grain in a blender with cool water at lowest speed, changing the water until it is no longer soapy. It takes about five water changes to achieve the desired, non-frothy result. Another way is to tie the desired amount of quinoa in a stocking, a loose weave muslin bag, or a pillowcase and to run it through a cold water cycle of an automatic washing machine. You can also get away with less or no rinsing by mixing quinoa with other grains or pulses, rendering the saponin hardly noticeable.

Commercial quinoa has had the saponin removed.

Amaranth has no saponin and no hulls, so can be cooked without additional preparation.

Yields. An ounce or two of seed per plant is common but you can easily get over six ounces per plant grown in your best compost. Normal commercial yields for amaranth and quinoa are 1200 to 2000 pounds (500-900 kg) per acre. Agricultural combines are still being adapted to the lightness of the seed, and full harvest potential is yet to be realized. Much higher results are obtained from labour-intensive harvesting: yields of over 5,000 pounds per acre have been reported from Central and South America.

Saving Your Own Seed. Amaranth and quinoa cross with their wild relatives, so it is important to weed out red-rooted pigweed and lamb's-quarters if you want to maintain pure seed. Amaranth cultivars will cross with each other as will quinoa cultivars, so grow only one kind of each or separate cultivars by as much distance as you can. Certain varieties, such as purple-leaved amaranth, are easier to select for than others. Lamb's-quarters has a greater branching habit than quinoa and smaller flowerheads.
Top Bottom