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Is johnson grass( sorghum alhopense) edible?

 
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Hi, i just found in a book that the seeds of johnson grass are edible. In my land i used to have a lot of johnson grass and i use to kill and throw to the garbage this plant.

Do anybody here eats the seeds of johson grass? Do you think its safe to eat this seed? which recipes can be made with this seeds?


cheers

 
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The Johnson grass growing in my asparagus doesn't make much seed. I haven't had any success eradicating it. I sure wouldn't intentionally let it go to seed. I bet livestock really like it though.
 
Ken W Wilson
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Now foraging on someone else's land would be different. If it's not edible for people, I bet chickens would love it.
 
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There are two conditions when you DON'T want to munch on Johnson grass: (1) when it is greening up after freezing weather and (2) if it has been recently fertilized with a high nitrogen fertilizer. This is because Johnson grass puts nitrogen for new growth into cyanide containing compounds, rendering it potentially toxic. Once the growth spurt is over, or if you cut it and dry it into hay, the cyanides are released, and it once again becomes edible. Also, any lactic fermentation, like cutting it for silage, will lower the pH enough to volatilize and get rid of the cyanide.

This makes Johnson grass problematic as fresh green forage, but this is not a problem with the seeds. I have fed Johnson grass seeds to my chickens, and they like it, the only downside is that the seeds are pretty small when compared to other members of the sorghum family.
 
Ken W Wilson
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The poisonous qualities of the forage sound just like grain sorghum. I hadn't realized that they were related before. I wonder if anyone has tried to cross breed them. A perenial grain sorghum would be a very useful plant. Even if it only produced half as much grain, it would be worthwhile sine the production costs would be so much lower.
 
Ronaldo Montoya
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in a book i have it says that the seeds of sorghum halophese are edible and that you can make flour with them and also you can cook them and eat them as rice.
Today i was looking carefully to my johnson grass plants and i discovered that at the beginning the seeds are white, then more developed plants became red in the seeds , and then the old plants became black in the seeds. I also discovered that when the seeds are black they begin to generate a liquid (that looks a little bit white and transparent) and when i tasted this liquid it was like honey or sugar.

So i was wondering which is the best time to cultivate the seeds of johnson grass?

is it the same if i cultivate the young (white), mature ( red) , or old (black) seeds?

and how should i cook them if i want to make rice? should i just separate the seeds with my hand and cook them or should i put them to dry?

also i was wondering, if its possible to make honey from the old seeds of johnson grass? how?

thanks in advance
 
John Elliott
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Ronaldo Montoya wrote:
and how should i cook them if i want to make rice? should i just separate the seeds with my hand and cook them or should i put them to dry?



I'm not much into sorghum seeds (any species of the Sorghum genus) as a rice substitute. It's just too chewy in texture, even after prolonged boiling/steaming. Now sorghum flour, that's quite useful. It makes excellent pancakes and you can use it as a substitute for cornmeal in cornbread/hushpuppy recipes. If you have an Indian grocery nearby, go get some "Jowar flour" and experiment and see what you can make from it. This is milled sorghum and I imagine if you put your Johnson grass seeds in the blender for a while you could come up with a similar quality of flour.

Once you have your flour, then you can make some rotis from it:

 
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Ken W Wilson wrote:The poisonous qualities of the forage sound just like grain sorghum.  I hadn't realized that they were related before. I wonder if anyone has tried to cross breed them. A perenial grain sorghum would be a very useful plant. Even if it only produced half as much grain, it would be worthwhile sine the production costs would be so much lower.



If I'm not mistaken, the Land Institute used Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense) in their preeding project for developing perennial sorghum in order to introduce cold hardiness into the crop. If I'm not mistaken Johnsongrass is tetraploid while domesticated sorghum and shattercame (Sorghum bicolor) are both diploid. I'm assuming that the annual sorghum parents would have to be treated with colchicine before crossing them with johnsongrass in order to increase the ploidy level.

https://landinstitute.org/our-work/perennial-crops/perennial-sorghum/
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