Did you know that corn is the only grain we eat like a vegetable, quinoa is a vegetable we eat like a grain, and amaranth is a vegetable we grow also as a grain and as an ornamental plant?
Confused? Don't be.
Let's start with corn, one of the foods that means Summer to a lot of people. Whether you boil it and slather it with butter, or marinate it in beer and throw it on the grill, corn is a vegetable we all enjoy.
Except it is really a grain, and if you want you can grow it that way too. Simply choose a variety that is recommended for grinding or is labeled as a 'field' or 'dry' corn. Grow as you would sweet corn, but allow the kernels to dry on the stalks.
We were very fortunate to be given some seeds for Glass Gem corn shown above from Sarah Henry, a wonderful Facebook equaintance. We intend to plant them, save many of the seeds, and try grinding our own cornmeal from others.
Mother Earth News has a great link to learn how to grind it at home.
Quinoa is a plant that is considered to be the 'grain of choice' these days. Vegetarians especially like it because it has the complex proteins previously thought to only be found in meat. It also makes a good substitute for rice or wheat in many recipes.
Quinoa is another tall plant, easily growing to 5-6 ft. We did purchase a new, shorter and faster to harvest variety from Bountiful Gardens called Apellwea.
Want to be a revolutionary and grow food in your front yard?
The variety Loves Lies Bleeding looked spectacular in the garden many years ago, but we had no idea you could thresh the seeds to use as a grain.
We were at Penn State University recently, and found it on the menu as a side dish. It was wonderful, and we knew at first taste it would be back in the garden again.
There are a number of colors of amaranth to choose from.
Like the other grains listed here, they also grow tall. Some varieties can get to be 8 ft. high.
Have you grown your own grains? Please share!