Short answer: Amaranth leaves can be harvested using two methods, that is thinning and clipping. With clipping, you just need to cut or pick the young green leaves from the plants using a scissor or secuteur. However, if you are harvesting the amaranth leaves using thinning, you need to uproot the whole plant.
Harvesting by thinning starts 2 to 3 weeks after germination when the amaranth plants have developed 6-8 fully grown leaves. For details on how to harvest both the leaves and seeds of amaranth, follow along with this handy guide.
Information about amaranth plant
Amaranth leaves are a storehouse of essential phytonutrients and antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation in the body and provide additional nutrients for human health.
The amaranth leaves are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber and have many benefits. Eating fiber helps us lose weight and prevent heart disease because it can lower blood cholesterol.
Rich in protein and fiber, both of which may help reduce appetite and increase weight loss. The amaranth is said to be low in cholesterol.
The amaranth plant from the seeds, oil, and leaves can be used as food. The plant as a whole is highly medicinal. The vegetables contain chemicals similar to antioxidants.
It is simple to prepare as food to eat and can be used in many different dishes. Before cooking the amaranth, you may have to soak it in water and let the grains sprout for one to three days.
When it sprouts, it makes grains easier to digest and breaks down anti-nutrients, which affect the absorption of minerals.
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The amaranth seeds mature about three months after planting, usually between the middle of the wet season to the late wet season, depending on the climate and your planting time.
You can start harvesting amaranth plants for vegetables almost immediately. Young vegetables are great for salads, while older vegetables are better when cooked like spinach.
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You know the amaranth seeds are ready to be harvested when they start to fall from the flower heads (tassels).
You can also detect that harvest time for the amaranth seeds has come when you shake the tassel gently.
If you see seeds falling from the tassel, then, it is time to harvest the amaranth.
How to harvest the amaranth seed
There are many ways you can harvest the amaranth seeds. Let’s briefly discuss the methods.
After you have determined that the seeds are ready to be harvested.
Cut the plants, hang them to dry.
Separate the seeds from the chaff or wait for 3-7 days to dry the tassels from the plants after the severe cold. By then, the seeds will dry out. However, the birds may be much more than you get.
Another way to harvest amaranth is to hold the seed head in your hand and rub it on the bucket to catch the seed once the seeds start to fall off the tassel easily. The latter method requires multiple harvests in this way to remove any remaining seeds while drying.
This method also helps to reduce the amount of residue and chaff that need to be removed.
The third method is known as the ‘blow and fly’ method. This method is usually done outdoors so that it will be easier to clean up whatever mess is made.
Lay the tray flat on the ground and use the cutting board to make an angled slope.
Pour the seeds on a tray and blow towards the slope. The seeds will roll up and back along the slope, and the chaff will blow off the cutting board.
To easily collect the grain after harvest, you may need to bend the plant over the bucket and rub the seed head between your hands.
This method may take longer to complete, but there will not be so many chaffs and specks that need to be sorted out later.
The best time to harvest amaranth seeds is on dry days, that is, 3 to 7 days after a severe frost.
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It is important to note that after harvesting your amaranth seeds, it should be made to get completely dried before storage. In order for it not to become moldy.
To do this, you may be required to place it in a tray to dry in the sun or, near an indoor heat source.
Also, stir the seeds occasionally until they are completely dry. Store them in an airtight container in a cool and dry place for up to 6 months.
In addition, you can enjoy the amaranth in these simple ways:
1. By adding it to smoothies to increase fiber and protein content, replace pasta, rice or couscous in dishes
2. You can mix it into soups or stews to increase thickness by stirring.
3.Make it into breakfast cereals with fruits, nuts or cinnamon.