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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Amaranth My Newest Number One

Amaranth

Amaranth has overtaken silverbeet to become my current favourite garden veggie.

Most of my amaranth was gobbled by snails in the early days as seedlings along with my sunflowers, bergamot and other stuff in this patch. But these two plants survived and they are more than enough for us. They look beautiful don't you think?

Apparently, you're supposed to eat the leaves before the plant flowers. But I didn't read that until I had flowers and I don't think it matters. I've been chopping off some of the smaller leaves when I need to and they taste good. Not raw mind you - you'll be wanting to cook them. And chop out the stems.

If you haven't tried amaranth before it's kind of like spinach but stronger and chewier and it keeps its shape when cooked. I've been popping a few leaves into my usual breakfast: toast, an egg, tomatoes, mushrooms a bit of basil from the garden (yippee) and amaranth. Tonight's fare is pizza with amaranth leaves. I'll be doing it with bocconcini cheese and tomato and basil. Yummy.

Now I wanted to get NutriNic my sister the nutritionist to comment for me about the nutritional value of amaranth but she is too busy at the moment. So I had to rely on the Great Google. Apparently amaranth is high in protein and very nutritious.  The leaves are similar to spinach and silverbeet but more nutritious. According to this source, the leaves have three times more calcium and three times more vitamin B3 than spinach. 

The seed is apparently very nutritious and high in protein too. But it sounds like a bit of a process to separate the seed from the outer shell so maybe I'll just be lazy and let them drop about for another crop later on.

Have you cooked or grown amaranth? Got any tips or recipe ideas?



10 comments:

  1. Is this the same as
    Amaranthus as I get that coming up every year,even though I do scatter the seed too. This year one so far has appeared,but I'm not sure if it is the edible one. It gets red and yellow varagated leaves and gets extremely tall.
    x jeanetteann

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  2. I've planted it this
    year for the first time
    too - I'm impressed that
    nothing seems to kill
    it including the 39
    degree day we had on
    Tuesday! I have another
    sort as well that seems
    better for stir frying.
    It has red and purple
    leaves and I got the
    seeds at an Asian
    supermarket - they
    sell the plant as
    "purple plant".

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. I grew this last year - the red variety- and liked it too. It grew very tall and the chooks liked the leaves as well. This year it has self seeded EVERYWHERE in the garden, popping up in just about every bed as well as all my pots. I don't mind that though, nothing wrong with a bit of volunteer plant action!

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  5. I've never tried to grow it due to my father lecturing me about its weed potential (so I recon the self seeding will work a treat) but now I think I will.

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  6. My favourite too.... I wrote about it here http://hillsandplainsseedsavers.blogspot.com/2010/02/amaranthus-for-dinner.html

    But now I live in Tasmania and its harder to grow amaranth but I think this year the self-sown seeds, from the tiny plants from last year, have germinated earlier and eventually they will adapt and triumph!!

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  7. Amaranth is growing rampant in our garden. It self seeds readily and is trouble free. Makes a good wind break and shade plant for other more delicate vegetables that don't like strong winds and scorching sun. I use the leaves just as I do spinach. It would be great to get fresh ideas for using it and a good collection of varied recipes. My family is getting a bit tired of quiche and pie.

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  8. I've never ever heard of this but will definitely look out for it in future as I LOVE spinach!!! lol x

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  9. I think you can harvest the seeds and use them like quinoa, can't you?

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  10. VG this is sounding like a great plant to add to the plot, especially if its hardy and chooks like it too! A neighbor gave me(forced on me) a bag of plums yesterday and it did make me laugh remebering your recent post.

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