A proper history of amaranth would fill an entire book (or several). Amaranth is an ancient grain that is loaded with healthy nutrients. Or you can use a room or closet with a dehumidifier running. Before that, it was foraged wild. The local amaranth seems to be a variety called “water hemp,” growing in wet areas. When harvesting the leaves, make sure to leave the crown and some leaves around the top to continue growing. The bulk seed is uses as a "grain" in porridges or added as a thickener to soups and stews. Ancient super-food? Like so many fresh Asian greens, amaranth greens need no embellishment aside from a few cloves of crushed garlic. In spite of some wild rumors, all amaranth can be eaten — even glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed — with a couple of caveats. Germination generally takes 7 to 14 days. If you find lambsquarters, you're likely to find amaranth growing nearby, as they're similar plants and do well in similar conditions. pseudo-cereal seeds are not the same as "true" grains. I’m gathering amaranth to collect seed to feed my chickens. Far from it, the amaranth is a nutritious plant with many health benefits. If you are eager for early harvest, you can start the seeds indoors as much as eight weeks earlier. Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), is a close relative of amaranth and considered a weed but can be used in much the same way as amaranth. We only link books and other products that we think would be useful to our readers. Great article! Make sure the site you choose has good drainage and air circulation. Good to know by Jonathan. Thanks, Jonathan! Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Pigweed seeds should never be eaten raw. There are around 60 species of amaranth — all have varying degrees of good-to-eatness. Amaranth Recipe Ideas. Amaranth's/pigweed's favorite stomping grounds are disturbed areas like fields, yards, and the edges of woods. Amaranthus palmeri, Palmer […] And unlike a lot of gluten-free wheat alternatives, it's really good for you. In other words, it’s the ideal plant for edible landscaping. Redroot Amaranth grows as an erect, annual herb reaching a height of 9 feet. Of course the wickedly thorny variety is what usually volunteers in my beds. Be aware, though, that if the original plants were hybrids, the volunteer seedlings may not "come true" and may look different than the parent plant. Palmer's amaranth is native to the southwest U.S. and Mexico, but it has aggressively expanded its range, becoming invasive in many parts of the world. Fresh or dried pigweed leaves can be used to make tea. The differences are more or less cultural preferences, as all types are edible and highly nutritious. Species across the genus contain concentric rings of vascular bundles, and fix carbon efficiently with a C4 photosynthetic pathway. First cut off the entire flower head and put in a paper or fine mesh bag, and then let them dry for a week or two in a well-ventilated, shady area, like open-air barn. It’s possible that it will resprout for another harvest, though you do risk introducing pests to the open stem. The closer you can get them, the better they look once fully grown. It was a main staple of the Aztecs and was cultivated by them as long as 8,000 years ago. You can also use the leaves of amaranth as a leafy vegetable; the taste is similar to spinach and they can be used in the same way as many of the leafy vegetables, especially in mixed-green salads. Amaranth plant grows wildly hence the natural tendencies to write it off as a weed. Edible Parts. This amaranth has nutritious, flavorful foliage with a hearty spinach flavor that is sweet and slightly tangy. Amaranth also has a propensity to accumulate nitrates and oxalates, which can make it unpalatable and unsafe for eating, especially when it grows in soil that's been over-exposed to nitrates from commercial fertilizer. Harvesting Amaranth Plants. This plant was widely used for food by Native Americans of the Southwest. For those with celiac disease, milled amaranth is a gluten-free flour substitute. Amaranth greens nutrition facts. Smooth Amaranth flower Smooth Amaranth, green form. The study also found that tocotrienols may be protective against cancer and have anti-inflammatory qualities. Some varieties are marketed as best for seed production, while others are bred for attractive, tasty leaves that work well in salads. Various wild species of amaranth are saddled with the label pigweed, particularly in North America, and several of those now feature on the list of the world’s weeds that have developed a resistance to glyphosate. First, remember that amaranth produces edible leaves, similar in taste to spinach. But those sold as edible varieties are selected for their good seed production and especially tasty leaves. Amaranth greens are nutritious, edible leafy vegetables of Central American origin. Like buckwheat, amaranth is considered a "pseudo-cereal," which basically means it's not in the grass family like wheat and corn — it seems like a subtle difference to me but apparently pseudo-cereal seeds are not the same as "true" grains. Thanks for your support! Amaranth shares a family with the common (and edible) weeds; lambsquarters and pigweed. I love "weeds" that can go straight into the harvest basket with the rest of the food crops! The seeds, like that of quinoa, are high in protein and taste similar to true grains grown from grass seeds. One part seeds to two parts water is a happy medium. It makes a great salad ingredient after spring greens have been harvested or are bolting. ... Grains are the edible seeds of plants called cereals. You often hear amaranth called an ancient grain because it was once grown and harvested by Aztec and Inca civilizations. Spiny amaranth has edible leaves and might be a medicine and sex aid. Andrey Zharkikh / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0. Note that some species of amaranth leaves, particularly purple amaranth, are … Nearly all amaranths are edible, including love-lies-bleeding and even the common road-side weedy forms. The seeds are a grain that can be eaten. Large size and heat won’t turn amaranth leaves bitter, as often occurs with other leafy greens. This works better if you have mesh bags. In a plethora of spots on the map, Amaranth is viewed as a traditional garden crop – especially in South America. This helps to keep Wild Edible online. Native Americans used Amaranthus species as a food source for centuries. Unlike other leafy green vegetables, amaranth is fairly happy in the heat. Helpful article! For greens, pick amaranth leaves from young plants avoiding larger leaves — smaller to medium-sized leaves are more tender and more nutrient-rich than their bigger counterparts. The seed, oil, and leaf are used as food. In reply to I’m gathering amaranth to by Anne. Steam, stir-fry, saute, or mix with spaghetti sauce, rice, or meatloaf. Maybe. In reply to Great article! In fact, once-upon-a-time, this was the primary reason amaranth served as a staple in home cottage gardens. As they sprout, thin the plants out to a spacing of 10 to 18 inches. The flower spikes are probably the plant's most identifiable trait. Then sift the seeds through a strainer to remove the coarser chaff. Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach, sautéed, etc. It even has medicinal qualities. At the same time, they need enough space to provide good air circulation. The flavor is sometimes described as earthy or grassy. Angela England is the author of "Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less)," and edits the online publication Blissfully Domestic. To collect seeds to make flour simply lay the seed heads on a cloth and dry them in the sun for a couple of days. It is a traditional food of Native Americans including the … Aphids and flea beetles are common; insecticidal soaps are a good remedy for the former, and floating row covers will protect the plants from the latter. Palmer amaranth, aka Palmer pigweed (Amaranthus Palmeri), one of the better known species, has a reputation for being an invasive weed that plagues cotton and soybean fields in the South. Even though the leaves of all 60 varieties are edible, some do boast prickly spines that have to be removed before preparing as a food. So you can get away with growing them 10 to 18 inches apart. These are very easy-to-grow plants, as befits a genus with many species that grow as roadside native plants. For one, any plant that survives the onslaught of toxic petro-pesticides will most likely harbor the toxic constituents of the pesticide and pass them on to whomever eats the plant. The weedy amaranth types are also edible and taste much like the cultivated varieties. Small leaves are more tender, but the larger leaves also have a full flavor. The entire plant is used to make medicine. Amaranth is a broad-leafed, edible plant that some say may hold the answer to improving diet in the world's most obese country—Mexico. Photo by Ben Werling, MSU Extension. As they sprout in spring, the volunteers can be thinned out to about 10 to 18 inches apart, or carefully dug up and transplanted elsewhere. Many Asian and African dishes make use of amaranth greens. If consumption is the goal, choose annual amaranth varieties marketed as edibles. Amaranth is related to a common weed you probably know, pigweed. Cook young tender pigweed leaves as you would spinach; steam or sauté/stir-fry in butter or oil. The Amaranthus genus is a complicated one, featuring at least 75 annual and perennial species that easily cross-breed and hybridize. Not only are its leaves delectable, its seeds are also edible and nutritious as well. I frequently see it on the edges of fields and parks. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Picked young enough, amaranth leaves do make a good, mildly flavored steamed green, reminiscent of steamed spinach, and the flavor varies from species to species, some more bitter than others. amaranth is an entire group of plants. Amaranth is a plant that falls into one of four categories: grain, vegetable, ornamental or weed. Awesome, I'm glad it was helpful! Amaranth grows well in average soils and will grow adequately in poor soils. Depending on variety, this may take several rinsings due to the amount of chaff. As greens go, most folks consider amaranth better than acceptable but probably not what you would call "top shelf". You can harvest both leaves and grain from any amaranth, but if your goal is an edible plant, choose a variety based on your goals. Although amaranth leaves are edible and a good nutrition source in their own right, many people harvest the small seeds which grow on the plants (up to 60,000 per plant) and eat them either whole or ground into flour. One to one makes a really firm consistency. Presently, its growth is mainly concentrated in tropical climates of Latin Americas, Asia and Africa. Read on to find out how to harvest amaranth and other information about harvesting amaranth grains. To cook, add to boiling water and simmer uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes. Many parts of the plants, including the leaves and seeds, are edible, and are frequently used as a source of food in India and South America – where it is the most important Andean species of Amaranthus, known as kiwicha. See the USDA's amaranth seed nutrition table for a full list of nutrients. In fact, excessive nitrogen will cause the plants to become leggy and less suitable for harvesting. In spite of some wild rumors, all amaranth can be eaten — even glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed — with a couple of caveats. key word weed. Avoid using commercial pesticides with a "wait to pick" or any other type of warning regarding consumption. To ensure continued production, it's a good idea to stagger planting every two to three weeks, beginning a week or two after the last frost date in your region. Edible amaranth is often grown for the plentiful tiny seeds that hang in tassels from the top of the plant after the attractive red flowers fade. North America is home to both native and introduced species of pigweed -- at least one species can be found throughout the entire continent. edible amaranth is also known as pigweed. Average outdoor temps need to reach about 55 degrees Fahrenheit before planting the seedlings outdoors. Pigweed has a mild flavour and is often mixed with stronger flavoured leaves. The seed can only be eaten when it's cooked, as it inhibits nutrient absorption when consumed raw. Inflorescences of Powell amaranth (left) and purple amaranth (right). (Apparently, the weedy types are also edible and taste much like the cultivated kinds. Amaranth leaves are a good source of potassium. Sorting out some amaranths Amaranthus hybridus, aka Smooth Amaranth, stems can be red or green Smooth Amaranth red leaf hairy, green can be hairless. Growing Amaranth in Containers. I have it growing all over my garden and I've just been pulling it out and throwing it in my compost pile but I think I'll start harvesting it to eat. Here is a detailed look at amaranth and its health benefits. Tocotrienols are a form of vitamin E that may reduce cholesterol as well as your risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the 2014 addition of the journal Nutrition & Metabolism. Store in clean jars or use right away. You’ll want to cultivate larger plants specifically grown for their seeds if you want the amaranth grain. Oil made from Amaranth plants can be used in food preparation, body lotions, soap, and related products. Including Amaranthus retroflexus (red root pigweed), A. spinosus (spiny pigweed), A. palmeri (Palmer’s pigweed), and A. hybridus (rough pigweed), these uninvited agricultural and garden guests are so ubiquitous that they seldom invite closer scrutiny from farmers … Don't overwater, or you run the risk of root rot or fungal diseases. For one, any plant that survives the onslaught of toxic petro-pesticides will most likely harbor the toxic constituents of the pesticide and pass them on to whomever eats the plant.Amaranth also has a propensity to accumulate nitrates and oxalates, which can make it unpalatable and unsafe for eatin… It's also high in vitamin A and calcium, as well as a host of other healthful vitamins and minerals. there may be one or two species you read about that are endangered, but they sure as hell aren't the edible ones being mentioned here. In many parts of the world, in South America especially, Amaranth is deemed a traditional garden vegetable crop. If starting indoors, use a general seed-starting mix and make sure to harden off the seedlings before transplanting outdoors. But, in technical terms, amaranth seeds aren't really grain. Once root rot occurs, the plant must be removed. [tweet_quote] Amaranth is a vibrantly colored plant, and both its seeds and leaves are edible. The seeds are extremely nutritious and protein-packed with a slightly nutty flavor. You can consume them raw, stir-fried, or sauteed. The seeds are ready to harvest when they start falling off of the plant, usually towards middle to late summer. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, 2 to 7 feet (depends on species and variety).
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