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Colorful quinoa | New World Seeds & Tubers

Back from the farm, and in the week since the last time I had been there, the heads of one of the varieties of quinoa colored up.

I didn’t check the tag; but I think it’s a variety called “Cherry Vanilla”.

Some of the others might color up too. There is one mixture we’re not growing this year called “Brightest Brilliant Rainbow” selected for especially vivid head colors. I’ve grown it before, but the year I grew it for some reason the heads didn’t color particularly well.

We’ll keep our eyes open for interesting head colors, on the theory that crops that are beautiful as well as edible are all the more valuable.

Some quinoas have colored leaves. So far about half our quinoas have magenta leaves. This could turn into one of those “riot of colors” issues. Especially if the heads clash with the leaves.

Adam Peterson, our friend the graduate student doing research on quinoa, read my last article mentioning seed color, and he passed this back to me:

I just got an article the other day (in Spanish) about seed color genes in quinoa. They’re controlled by two genes with a couple alleles each. All in all, they characterized the genotypes of white, yellow, light brown, brown, and black seeds.

I suspect “white” is tan, which is the most common color. The brown is probably the reddish brown sold as “red”.

Most of ours is tan, but we think we have at least one “black”. Finding other colors is a problem because our highest priority has to be to find varieties compatible with our latitude and climate. The darker-colored grains are beautiful to cook with but probably not as widely-useful as the more common tan.

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