Quinoa harvest, part deux

September 10, 2009 | By | Comments (3)

Our quinoa harvest dried down quite nicely and it was time to get our thresh on. The goal? Separate the quinoa seeds from the stalks.

Here’s Margo explaining our various techniques:



Yes, my bag was much fuller than Margo’s, though I did manage to practically have an asthma attack from all the particulate matter I generated. You can hear me hacking up a lung at around :05.

The real challenge, we’ve decided, is the next step. How exactly do we rid the quinoa from all the dust of crushed leaves and stems?


Here are several options we’re contemplating, and we’d love to hear your ideas:

  • Will rinsing it work? We have to wash it anyways to remove the saponin. Will all the powder just rise to the top?
  • Should we find a screen that is the perfect size to let the dust through but retain the quinoa?
  • Should we follow the advice from Seeds of Change and setup a fan to blow away the dust while praying that the quinoa drops into a container?



We’re going to figure out the best method in the next few days and then proceed. This is labor intensive! I might be changing my tune on whether or not it’s a good idea to grow your own quinoa at home.

Until then, here’s what Associate Garden Editor, Julie Chai, has to say about quinoa:


  1. liz

    I saw a bag of quinoa at Costco (in the grains/food section) and was wondering: Can those seeds be planted or is it edible only? I’ve purchased corriandor seeds in the past in the spice section and have grown cilantro…

    October 23, 2009 at 4:44 am
  2. Patricia

    Can’t help with your threshing work but I do have a related question.
    Several years ago I covered a “wild” rice harvest in Mendocino County. That night I went home, fixed dinner and served the usual red wine. Almost immediately after drinking the wine I was struck with an intense headache. A year later I was back for the next harvest, and again that night, same thing. For the first time I gave credance to the terrible wine related headaches people speak of. At no other time has this occured for me.
    I would be interested to know if the quinoa produced any like happenings with you.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:19 pm
  3. dan

    In the past when we’ve harvested popcorn, we would clean it by setting up a fan and shaking the popcorn in front of the fan and catching it in another container. You may need to adjust your pan to catch the seeds as they will likely blow in the wind but not as far as the chaff and should be pretty consistent since they are the same size and shape. It will definitely be quicker though you’ll need to do it a few times to get it clean. I’d recommend setting a pan inside of a larger container so you can salvage any seed that misses the pan until you get the knack of it.

    I think you’re spending too much time worrying and not enough time doing – just do it, it’ll work well enough.

    September 14, 2009 at 9:09 pm

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