Friday, December 13, 2013

Removing the Seeds From Broom Corn

We grew a colored broom corn this year. I was under the impression that the resulting brooms would be a beautiful variation of rusts, burgundies and oranges. I was slightly disappointed as most of the color is only held in the seeds and doesn't really transfer to the bristles. We have a few that picked up the color slightly, but nothing near the vibrant seed color. Next year in addition to the colored variety, I want to grow the non-colored broom corn. I'm hoping that we will get longer bristles as the colored variety seems a little on the short side. The colored broom corn would be beautiful with the seeds left in tact for natural holiday decorations. I could easily see these splays of colored shoots in wreathes or table centerpieces.

To make a useable broom, the seeds must be removed from the bristles.

I tried a few different things to accomplish this...none of which worked. I tried shaking the stems, whacking them against a pole (like when you thrash flax) and tried to rubbing the seeds between my hands. It finally occurred to me that they needed to be scrapped off in some manner. I was about to ask Zach to make me some sort of elaborate table with closely spaced nails or staples with the ends up so I could squeeze the seeds from the bristles.

Then one day while brushing the dog, I realized the straight comb would work perfect. I was a little worried that the bristles might break before releasing the seeds, but worked great!

I just combed the bristles starting from the tips and working my way back to the stalk. 

It makes quite a mess as the seeds fly everywhere...not just in the bowl. So if you decide to do this in the house have a vacuum handy.

Broom corn produces a LOT of seeds. I filled this large bowl twice combing only a small amount of bristles. We will have plenty of seeds to grow next year, more than 10 times the amount that we planted last spring.    

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