Quinoa, Taiwanese (Organic)
Chenopodium formosanum. 120-130 days.
Easy to grow plants are similar to lambsquarters, with a unique pink coloration. Very heat tolerant. The magic happens when they grow over 6′ tall, producing beautiful long trailing flower heads. Flower heads resemble Love Lies Bleeding amaranth and similarly make great cut flowers. Late to mature seed but the plants can be cut and brought under cover to after-ripen. C. formosanum produces smaller seeds than Andean quinoa. We put threshed, uncleaned seed in a pillowcase, throw it in the clothes dryer, set to fluff (no heat), and let it tumble for 20 minutes – a great way to remove the hulls so it’s ready to cook. We mostly use the leaves as a vegetable, but the seed is also high in protein, making Taiwanese quinoa a great multi-purpose food plant. Said to be a native plant to Taiwan and China, it is very rare in North America. Recently added to the Slow Food Ark of Taste as an endangered food plant. We were gifted a sample of this seed originally by the lovely folks at Bountiful Gardens. Formerly known as the species Chenopodium purpurascens, may be considered Chenopodium giganteum by some botanists. Aka, Djulis, Purple Goosefoot, Giant Tree Spinach.
Sow in pots indoors in April for planting out in May, or direct sow after danger of frost. Recommended spacing is 12” centers. Harvest leaves for salad or cooking greens throughout the season.
Harvest and Seed Saving
Harvest for grain or seed saving when seeds rub off easily in your hand and before autumn rains begin. Hang over a tarp to dry for one week, then dance, rub, or flail seeds from seed heads. Screen and winnow to clean, or place seeds in a bowl and make stirring motion with your arm; chaff rises to the top for easy removal. Rinse well before eating.