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?