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How to harvest millets and quinoa....

 
Paulo Bessa
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Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Hello,

This year I went big on my experimentations with grains and pseudograins, and I need some advice

- Foxtail millet: the seeds are bright orange, directly from the seed heads, this orange hull seems to be strongly attached to the seed. How do I remove it?
- Japanese millet: anyone also has experience with this grain? The brown grain seems to also have a hull which is difficult to remove by hand.

- Proso and pearl millet seem much more easy to remove husk. I assume that just by rubbing with the hand, and then it can be used in the kitchen,

Anyone has tried cooking these different types of millets?  I think either proso or pearl, one of them, is the common millet found in organic stores. I waiting to know on their edibility, before cooking these four types of millet.


- Amaranth. Easy to grow and harvest. But I find it harder to store due to its tendency to absorb moisture from the air. Can I roast it and store it that way? Can you eat plenty of roasted amaranth seed? I added small spoons to salads and it tastes great.

- Quinoa. The seed started to sprout in the seed heads, due to constantly rainy weather. So I rush to harvest it, so I end up with a mix of dried powder, darker material, and the seeds. I am not sure whether this is expected. Could it be that the threshed and winnoned seed is full of dark material, which is fungal stuff or rot seed. Should I discard the seed or is it fine for eating? Perhaps I upload a photo to show this. I know that I must soak it several times before cooking.

- Rice. How do I remove the hard hull?

- Corn. Anyone tried to parch/roast corn kernels, and then grind it into a polenta flour? This was my idea... I have paint mountain corn. Parched corn tastes delicious.
 
amarynth leroux
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While I cannot help you with your other questions, I've tried to remove the hulls from rice.  Oh man, never again.  I beat it, I drowned it, I tried to bite them off, I tried mortar and pestle, I stuck it in the microwave .. there is nothing that I did not try to get those hulls off.  I gave up on the rice and the romantic dream of doing it by hand as they used to do it in olden times.  Here is a reasonable article and there are some rice huller attachments to some smaller hand mills.  https://survivalblog.com/how_to_winnow_de-hull_and_clea/

Generally for storage in the tropics we store in a freezer because it is just too easy to get our harvest contaminated with critters.
Amaranth stores well in glass jars sufficient for a season.

Corn, parched and ground to a finer consistency for polenta and it is best fresh.  Parching is not generally necessary although the taste is way nicer and of course it cooks up quicker.  A good hand mill is the thing to have but my husband keeps threatening to put a motor on ours.  We take turns ... 100 turns each (grins).   

This all should give you at least a start on post production of grains.     
 
Paulo Bessa
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Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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It is more the question on the processing and edibility of the four types of millets and quinoa that I am having a problem with, and seeking for advice.

But many thanks regarding the parched corn and rice.
 
Anne Miller
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Paulo Bessa wrote:It is more the question on the processing and edibility of the four types of millets and quinoa that I am having a problem with, and seeking for advice.


At the present time I am researching Hand Mills and thought this might help you:

The grain huller also hulls spelt, wheat, oats, millet , and sesame
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 260
Location: Ohio, USA
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Howdy!

I'm no expert, but no need for hand mills if your doing small quantities! A cheap-o blender will work just fine, just shake and make sure that you don't let it over heat (grind, let cool, grind, let cool). I did like 3 lbs barely that way- and the barely was like 2 years old and so hard as heck! Took like an hour. Blender worked just fine after that too. Corn is pretty good in a coffee grinder too.

Quinoa, as you said, pretty easy- it likes falling out of it's hull. I have a small-mesh strainer and a big holes strainer. That helps me cut-down on the chaff. The other thing I have done, when I was processing sunflower flour, was separating with water. The chaff floats, the seed sinks. HOWEVER, since that wets the seed, then drying immediately is pretty important. Once dry, blend to a fine flour. I think I'm going to leave the seeds with the chaff (since quinoa is mostly eat whole grain-type grain) and then separate the chaff when I go to cook it, just like how your supposed to "wash" rice and beans.

Amaranth, corn and sorghum can be popped to popcorn, so I'd watch out roasting them, or record it and post it because having small grains popping across the kitchen sounds pretty funny.

Amaranth plants and quinoa plants are completely edible. Sorghum stems are used for making molasses. So, these I would have no problem consuming a little chaff.

I am hoping to try millet next year, so I have nothing from experience: a quick search says they separate easy from the chaff. I know quinoa just required a bowl, a sifter, a video, and my fingers mushing the stuff around while watching the video. If for whatever reason it doesn't seem to be the case, I've heard of those being edible, but I'm not 100% sure, so it might be a good idea to give a quick internet search.

I have no experience with rice and heard it requires a special de-huller, but maybe a little innovation could get you to pop it out certainly historically humans didn't run around with specially patented de-hullers.

Good luck!
 
Amit Enventres
Posts: 260
Location: Ohio, USA
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Paulo and Amarynth (and anyone else who wants to weigh in) it seems ancient rice hull removal involved heavy objects being dropped on the grains. Mortar and pestle seems like not enough of an impact. I don't have rice grain (though I have a place I dream of putting it) so I can't give this a go myself yet. However, my thoughts are to try:

Putting it in the blender and vigorously shaking as it's on. This worked for barely which is supposed to be just as impossible to do on your own as rice. I put a handful in at a time, often with the whole seed head still intact, and then pulsed. Most of the grains remained in tact while the shaff flew off.

If you give this a try, please let me/permies know so we can count it/or not count it as one of the many innovations that come out of this site.


 
Paulo Bessa
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Posts: 352
Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Hello,

From our grain experiments, so far I´ve only eaten the corn (roasted and it is delicious) and amaranth (tried it simply cooked and also roasted).
Popping did not work, neither for amaranth of the popcorn variety we grew. But all varieties of corn seem perfectly edible when roasted.
We also tried amaranth chips, tasted good.
Amaranth was easy to remove the chaff, simply by use of a hair dryer or in windy weather.
The IMPORTANT thing with both corn but especially with amaranth is that they need to dry very well before storage. Otherwise they mold easily.
My trick was to immediately roast the amaranth seeds after processing them.
So with amaranth and corn, I end up finding the process easy and delicious to eat.

The millets have hard shells. Except the proso millet which seems larger sized grain and ready to eat. I will try the blender trick (on the japanese and foxtail varieties).
The good thing about the millets is that they grow fast, easy and in poor conditions. Chicken love it.

Rice. I tried 3 varieties and they were all slow, despite our warm moist summer. I end up bringing the rice growing in waterlogged containers indoors and only now are finally flowering. Really easy to grow it indoors.
I reckon I will harvest the seed heads by December.
So this was just fun as rice seems to require a painful long growing season. I will dehull it by trying a blender.

Sunflower. I harvested seed but have no time to process it yet. I will try boiling the seed, then cracking the hull, separate it with water, and then bake-dry it to roast it.

Barley I grew a hulless variety it seems. It was straighforward to process. Next step is to finally cook it and give it a try to see how it tastes.

Quinoa. Sadly the seed heads were half germinating when harvested (summer is rainy here). And after rubbing, seeds are coated in a dark smudge, which comes out if I rub it vigorously in water but it seems like big work. I wonder if this is the saponin or it is some (potencially dangerous) fungi coating. By the look it doesn´t seem inviting to it, and neither did the chicken eat it.

Also difficult to process were our tiger nuts/ chufas, but I managed to be successful. They are an excellent perennial and easy to grow starch crop. Especially easy to grow indoors in a container.
I have to rub them vigorously to remove the soil from these rugged tubers. This may explain their high cost.

Another crop which I had great yields were sweet potatoes.
These need to be cured. I placed the harvested tubers on top of a seed germinator (30°C) inside a plastic bag, to give them heat and moisture.
Tubers stored well after a week in these curing conditions, otherwise they shrivel. The taste was great!


Any thoughts on the quinoa experiment?
Anyone tried eating the japanese or foxtail millet?




 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 333
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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I would not eat the quinoa even washed. It sounds moldy. I used to raise milo on a small farm. One year it sprouted before harvest. It was very moldy. I got sick just from breathing the dust while combining it.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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