Apr 1, 2012

Amaranth

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.


9 comments:

Whole Foods Living said...

Thanks for the great info on amaranth! I eat gluten-free and always see "amaranth flour" listed in recipes, but had no idea the source. Neat! ~Angela, Whole Foods Living

Susanne Drazic said...

Hello! Stopping by on the A to Z Challenge. I found your post interesting.

Susanne
PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

Debbie Henthorn said...

Such a beautiful plant and I had no idea of all the varieties! I'm looking forward to seeing what you make with this plant. Please post pictures of the different types of amaranth to show the difference between the "herbal" kind and the "grain" kind.

Amanda Dollak said...

I never knew the name of this pretty plant. Thanks for sharing!

Cherri said...

I wasn't even aware that there was such a thing as gluten-free grain ...

Theresa Leschmann said...

The idea that it is gluten free has a certain appeal as I am moving toward that type of diet. I wonder how it tastes. Have you ever used it before you decided to grow it?

Marie Anne said...

Edible and pretty too? Works for me!

notes4neta said...

Thanks for the educational post! I have just started eating wheat-free and have seen this grain in stores. You have a lovely looking blog, by the way! All the best in the challenge!

Lori Degman said...

Never heard of this plant - thanks for the info!