Flax plants beginning to flower. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Choosing crops: how much processing do you want to do?

The oats and quinoa were more trouble to process than an old granny lady like me cared to deal with.

By Mary Lowther

Dan Jason of Salt Spring Seeds turned me on to growing grains and the tastiest beans I’ve ever eaten — Uganda Bush Beans. In fact, I just sowed some this week from last year’s crop of seeds. His flax, oats and quinoa grow like weeds.

The oats and quinoa were more trouble to process than an old granny lady like me cared to deal with. The oats resisted threshing so I ended up throwing the whole mess into the compost heap. The quinoa fell off its stalks into the awaiting bucket easily, but bitter saponins cover each seed. I didn’t know this so my first pot of quinoa was inedible, nothing like the stuff you buy.

It turns out that one must rub off the saponins in water and then dry the grain for storage. I filled up a bowl with water, poured in some quinoa and rubbed the grains like crazy in several waters, gave them a final rinse and cooked up another batch. Still bitter. A web site suggested blending quinoa with water for a few seconds — just long enough to remove the saponins, so I gave that a whirl. Nope, still bitter. I wonder how commercial enterprises do it.

Flax, on the other hand, grew beautifully, producing tons of lovely seeds that needed no more work than some light threshing into a bucket. Since I often use flax in cooking, I’m growing some again this year. Rich in omega three fatty acids, flax grew unperturbed by pests or disease and reached about five feet.

I sowed them in early spring about one inch apart in rows one foot apart. The rows probably should have been two feet apart, but I’m greedy. I’m fertilizing them the same way as the rest of the garden; side dressing with organic fertilizer every three weeks and sprinkling compost tea on them every two weeks. When they start to flop over I’ll hammer in a few stakes around the bed and tie string around them.

Bees love the blue flowers that develop into seeds that mature by late summer. Here’s a tasty recipe using the dehydrator, using flax and the spent pulp from making nut or seed milk, copied from the Blissful recipe book by Heather Cunliffe.

Cinnamon Toast

1 cup pulp from making nut milk

1/3 cup ground flax

2.5 T. oil

2.5 T. raisins

2.5 T chopped walnuts

1 pitted medjool date, chopped finely

1 T. honey

¼ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. salt

Mix everything together (I use my hands). Spread about ¼ inch thick on dehydrating sheets and dehydrate at 115 F. for 12 hours or overnight. If the dehydrator doesn’t have a temperature dial, just dry them until they’re crisp. I love this stuff, and it’s the best recipe I’ve come across to use up the pulp leftover from making nut or seed milk.

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.

Columngardening

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shady Lady: legendary Catalina touches down on Cowichan Lake

Two flying boats test the waters west of Youbou

Under new ownership, Cowichan’s Isles prepare for 2020-21

The Isles have gone through some ups and downs in recent seasons

Cowichan Valley Regional District will reopen three arenas in August

Ice will go back in at Lake Cowichan, Cowichan Community Centre and Kerry Park

Business notes: Salt Spring Therapeutic Riding Association launches program for front-line workers

A sample of what’s happening in Cowichan’s business community

UPDATE: RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

Most Read