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!
Angie Mohr is a Chartered Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and financial consultant. She has worked with thousands of clients over the years from mom and pop startups to rock bands and celebrity chefs. She is the author of the best-selling Numbers 101 for Small Business series of books and writes for Forbes, MSNBC, the Globe & Mail, Yahoo! Finance, Investopedia, and Motley Fool, among other financial publications. Her new book, Piggy Banks to Paychecks, helps parents teach their children how to be money smart. She splits her time between Canada and the United States and currently lives by the ocean with her husband and two children, who have finally learned that money doesn’t grow on trees.