Apr 1, 2012


I'm going to try to grow lots of new edibles in my garden this year and the one that excites me the most is amaranth. Amaranth has been around just about as long as civilized society. There are around 60 varieties in existence today- some are ornamental, some medicinal, and some are used for their edible leaves and seeds.

We're going to grow two kinds of amaranth on our homestead this year- vegetable amaranth and grain amaranth. The first will provide us with lots of vitamin-rich leaves that we can use in salads or steam as a side vegetable. The second will give us amaranth grain, which was used by the ancient Mayans and in Asia to produce bread and gruel. Amaranth grain has a unique property- it contains lysine, which most other grains and legumes do not. This means that, in combination with other grains, it can produce a whole set of essential amino acids- something uncommon in the vegetable world. The other benefit is that the grain is gluten-free, and therefore can be used by those who are sensitive to gluten.

I'm  still working on selecting my varieties (shout out to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds) and I can't wait to get introduced to this important food crop!

Here's a great video primer on amaranth.