Frank Morton has been developing new kinds of quinoa, with the backing of the Clif Bar Family Foundation. His Wild Garden Seed catalog offers a breeder's mix, as well as some named selections like Biobio and Cherry Vanilla.
He wrote an article about the problems to be overcome - the need for strong stems, resistance of the developing seeds to sprouting at the first bit of rain, and how to wash pillowcases full of seeds in a washing machine to remove the bitter soapy coating present on the seeds.
No mention of developing seeds without the saponin, though.
I have done a search, and saponin-free seeds have been developed, mainly in Europe. Four kinds have been developed by Wageningen University, and licensed to a company that makes various products, like flakes, crisps, and flour from them.
Well, that won't help me grow some, but then I found some companies selling the whole seeds.
britishquinoa.co.uk has white seeds for sale, and is continuing to breed for saponin-free red and black seeds.
quinola.com/french-whole-grain-quinoa/. Jason Abbot began developing saponin-free quinoa eleven years ago. He grows it in the Loire Valley but also sells in the U.K. under the name Quinola Mothergrain Express Quinoa. Whole Grain
I wasn’t aware of the saponin free varieties. What a time saver. I’ll start looking at the labelling more carefully when I buy quinoa. Maybe the low saponin varieties are around and I just haven’t noticed.
Ray Silty loam over clay, pH 5.5, altitude 1000m, latitude 30deg south, 150 frost free days.
I don't know. Will you be growing some plants? If so, you and I will have the answer next year when we grow the next generation.
added later: I read an article about breeding quinoa. No shortcuts to selection. There is no way to tell whether seedlings are going to be saponin-free. You have to wait until the plants produce seeds to find out.
I recalled reading about a 'dwarf-quinoa' earlier in the year, a small Andean chenopod hardier than quinoa. Hadn't thought much more about it at the time, as it was rare and hard to find seed, but remembered its cartoonish appearance. Regarding the topic of saponins, or lack thereof, thought I better look into this plant again. It's called 'cañihua' or 'kañiwa', Chenopodium pallidicaule.
I've ordered some from a health-food shop in Scotland. I believe it's only farmed in Peru at present, though it has been grown successfully in Finland. If it's not available across the pond, I can send some over with the quinoa.