is amaranth edible

The differences are more or less cultural preferences, as all types are edible and highly nutritious. 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. But, in technical terms, amaranth seeds aren't really grain. Species across the genus contain concentric rings of vascular bundles, and fix carbon efficiently with a C4 photosynthetic pathway. 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. The weedy amaranth types are also edible and taste much like the cultivated varieties. Amaranths don't require any feeding. Root rot can be a problem in wet, dense soil or in periods where rainfalls are frequent and copious. One of the amaranth seed's most attractive traits, in an era of anti-wheat, is simply the fact that amaranth is gluten-free. Many Asian and African dishes make use of amaranth greens. The greens are similar to spinach, beet greens, and chard — they're all in the same family, Amaranthaceae — but amaranth has more than twice as much vitamin C as kale and four times more than spinach. Then sift the seeds through a strainer to remove the coarser chaff. Amaranthus caudatus known by common names as love-lies-bleeding, pendant amaranth, tassel flower, velvet flower, foxtail amaranth, and quilete.. In fact, excessive nitrogen will cause the plants to become leggy and less suitable for harvesting. Once the flowers have developed, let the amaranth flowers grow fully and watch carefully for the first few flowers to start dying back or browning a … Or, you can cut the whole plant down off at ground level when it is 1 to 2 feet tall. See the USDA's amaranth leaves nutrition table for details. At the same time, they need enough space to provide good air circulation. Amaranth is a wonderfully versatile plant that’s a beautiful flower, a delicious vegetable, and a nutritious grain all in one. it will grow even for people who don't want it. For those with celiac disease, milled amaranth is a gluten-free flour substitute. Sorting out some amaranths Amaranthus hybridus, aka Smooth Amaranth, stems can be red or green Smooth Amaranth red leaf hairy, green can be hairless. Many of these types of pesticides are broad spectrum designed to eliminate multiple insect pests and may contain ingredients that aren't meant to be ingested by humans. Many species are native to the southern U.S. and Mexico, so you can expect it to thrive even when late spring and summer is unusually warm. Amaranth Recipe Ideas. Amaranth is a hardy plant that thrives in tropical climates around the world. Affiliate Disclaimer: In some cases, we use affiliate links, which means we get a small (tiny) commission if you make a purchase after clicking a link. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. Amaranth is enjoyed by birds, insects, and also makes a great cut flower. Overview Information Amaranth is a plant. Like these weeds it readily grows in cultivated soil and will self-sow easily if allowed to go to seed. Like so many fresh Asian greens, amaranth greens need no embellishment aside from a few cloves of crushed garlic. The flowers eventually dry out and yield tiny husked seeds which may then be harvested. "Pigweed" is a common name for a few different plants, including lambsquarters, but the particular pigweed I'm writing about is the one whose genus is Amaranthus, also known as "amaranth.". 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. Young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked like spinach, sautéed, etc. The study also found that tocotrienols may be protective against cancer and have anti-inflammatory qualities. 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. Flowers vary interspecifically from the presence of 3 or 5 tepals and stamens, whereas a 7-porate pollen grain structure remains consistent across the family. I'm partial to its cousin, lambsquarters, but amaranth leaves are definitely worth foraging. The tiny flowers of amaranth grow by the hundreds along the stem and are easily recognized in fields where they emerge above crops like cotton. The bulk seed is uses as a "grain" in porridges or added as a thickener to soups and stews. Or you can use a room or closet with a dehumidifier running. 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. The seed, oil, and leaf are used as food. Since amaranth is such a weedy, farmer-plaguing plant, be careful harvesting in areas that may have been sprayed with toxic chemicals — or that may have absorbed high levels of nitrates from fertilizer. Oil made from Amaranth plants can be used in food preparation, body lotions, soap, and related products. 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). As greens go, most folks consider amaranth better than acceptable but probably not what you would call "top shelf". pseudo-cereal seeds are not the same as "true" grains. 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 … One to one makes a really firm consistency. In reply to Great article! Inflorescences of Powell amaranth (left) and purple amaranth (right). The seeds, like that of quinoa, are high in protein and taste similar to true grains grown from grass seeds. The leaves are used as a typical green would be. The seeds are ready to harvest when they start falling off of the plant, usually towards middle to late summer. Historically, the use of amaranth as an ornamental plant is a relatively recent development. 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. Read on to find out how to harvest amaranth and other information about harvesting amaranth grains. So you can get away with growing them 10 to 18 inches apart. Leaves can be harvested within a few weeks of outdoor planting. Pigweed is one of the common names given to a clutch of Amaranth species that crash parties where they are not wanted. There are some 60 amaranth species, maybe 70 (it depends on who’s counting.) As they sprout, thin the plants out to a spacing of 10 to 18 inches. What Parts Of The Amaranth Plant Are Edible? Note that some species of amaranth leaves, particularly purple amaranth, are … Here is a detailed look at amaranth and its health benefits. 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. Native Americans used Amaranthus species as a food source for centuries. 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. When planting outdoors, sow seeds about 4 inches apart, barely covering them with soil. 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. [tweet_quote] Amaranth is a vibrantly colored plant, and both its seeds and leaves are edible. edible amaranth is also known as pigweed. key word weed. Ancient super-food? Cooked amaranth seeds are sort of nutty. Amaranth grains are especially good in a porridge that also contains other grains, such as millet and quinoa. Good to know pigweed is so nutritious! Andrey Zharkikh / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0. Amaranth plant grows wildly hence the natural tendencies to write it off as a weed. Amaranths produce enormous quantities of tiny seeds that will rampantly self-seed around the parent plant if you don't carefully harvest the seed heads when they mature. In spite of some wild rumors, all amaranth can be eaten — even glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed — with a couple of caveats. Amaranth shares a family with the common (and edible) weeds; lambsquarters and pigweed. Shake the bag once they are dry, or knock the seeds loose over a cloth. 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. 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. With their plentiful seeds, amaranth plants will readily self-seed in the garden. These are very easy-to-grow plants, as befits a genus with many species that grow as roadside native plants. Amaranth is related to a common weed you probably know, pigweed. Gomphrena globosa, commonly known as globe amaranth, makhmali, and vadamalli, is an edible plant from the family Amaranthaceae.The round-shaped flower inflorescences are a visually dominant feature and cultivars have been propagated to exhibit shades of magenta, purple, red, orange, white, pink, and lilac. Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), is a close relative of amaranth and considered a weed but can be used in much the same way as amaranth. Very rich soils are not necessary for amaranth, and may even hinder flowering and seed production. Amaranth seed has more protein and fewer carbohydrates than both buckwheat and white rice, and its protein is supposedly more complete. Edible Parts. If you want to harvest the plants for seeds, it will take about 12 weeks for the plants to reach full maturity. Having ample potassium in the body helps move oxygen to the brain which stimulates n… 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. I have a friend who prefers amaranth over lambsquarters for flavor, though. If you are planting amaranth in containers, make sure your container is at least 10” deep. Sushila Chaudhari , MSU Department of Horticulture’s new edible specialty crops weed scientist, will be investigating the distribution of this weed species in Michigan as well as the biology and control options available. Amaranth grows well in average soils and will grow adequately in poor soils. Amaranth greens are nutritious, edible leafy vegetables of Central American origin. It is a traditional food of Native Americans including the … This helps to keep Wild Edible online. amaranth is an entire group of plants. 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. 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. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. It’s possible that it will resprout for another harvest, though you do risk introducing pests to the open stem. Amaranth plants have average needs for water (no more than 1 inch per week). Average outdoor temps need to reach about 55 degrees Fahrenheit before planting the seedlings outdoors. Amaranth leaves and grains were one of the staple foods of Aztecs and Incas in pre-Columbian times. The stems are usually smooth or slightly hairy except for spiny pigweed (Amaranthus spinosus), which has thorns — I first discovered this when unsuspectingly weeding my garden with bare hands. Amaranth is a herbaceous plant or shrub that is either annual or perennial across the genus. You often hear amaranth called an ancient grain because it was once grown and harvested by Aztec and Inca civilizations. You’ll want to cultivate larger plants specifically grown for their seeds if you want the amaranth grain. I'd never heard of it but I just googled it. Maybe it's more of an acquired taste. One part seeds to two parts water is a happy medium. Amaranth does best in full sun in the northern part of its range, but in warm southern climates, it benefits from some shade in the afternoon. It seems to tolerate most soil types but it really thrives in the rich soil of a well-amended garden. To cook, add to boiling water and simmer uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes. Large size and heat won’t turn amaranth leaves bitter, as often occurs with other leafy greens. How does it taste? Not only are its leaves delectable, its seeds are also edible and nutritious as well. ... Grains are the edible seeds of plants called cereals. When the seeds are dry and ready to separate, either thresh by rubbing the flower heads in your hands over a container, or by gently beating the bags of flower heads with a stick. When harvesting the leaves, make sure to leave the crown and some leaves around the top to continue growing. Maybe. copyright © 2010-2020 Wild Edible, all rights reserved | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions. Don't overwater, or you run the risk of root rot or fungal diseases. Store in clean jars or use right away. In fact, once-upon-a-time, this was the primary reason amaranth served as a staple in home cottage gardens. Fresh or dried pigweed leaves can be used to make tea. Saag, the Indian moniker for green leafy vegetables, forms an integral part of various regional cuisines in the country.Loaded with vitamins and essential minerals, it is the best way of fueling up on the season’s best offerings. Unlike other leafy green vegetables, amaranth is fairly happy in the heat. Depending on variety, this may take several rinsings due to the amount of chaff. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. If starting indoors, use a general seed-starting mix and make sure to harden off the seedlings before transplanting outdoors. Keep an eye on the flowers as they bloom and then begin to die back. Nearly all amaranths are edible, including love-lies-bleeding and even the common road-side weedy forms. It even has medicinal qualities. Amaranths are usually planted from seeds as soon as the last frost has passed in the spring. You can consume them raw, stir-fried, or sauteed. Amaranthus palmeri, Palmer […] To harvest grains, let the plant go all the way to flower. According to this study, amaranth seed's protein  is similar to animal protein. Harvesting Amaranth Plants. Within the flowerheads, the true flowers are small and inconspicuous. The entire plant is used to make medicine. Presently, its growth is mainly concentrated in tropical climates of Latin Americas, Asia and Africa. Pigweed seeds should never be eaten raw. Flowering amaranth plants can still have their leaves harvested to eat, but you may find that the flavor changes after the amaranth plant flowers. It was a main staple of the Aztecs and was cultivated by them as long as 8,000 years ago. Varieties of amaranth can range from giants topping 8 feet to smaller 1- to 2-foot plants better suited for leaf harvest only. And unlike a lot of gluten-free wheat alternatives, it's really good for you. Great article! Regardless of your cultivar, amaranth leaves can be harvested at any point. The seed can only be eaten when it's cooked, as it inhibits nutrient absorption when consumed raw. I frequently see it on the edges of fields and parks. Germination generally takes 7 to 14 days. 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. The flower spikes are probably the plant's most identifiable trait. All amaranth foliage, which ranges from green to yellow, orange and red, like Hopi red dye amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus x A. powelli), is edible. 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. Aztec ritual. 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. Spiny amaranth has edible leaves and might be a medicine and sex aid. I’m gathering amaranth to collect seed to feed my chickens. Thanks for your support! In a plethora of spots on the map, Amaranth is viewed as a traditional garden crop – especially in South America. There are around 60 species of amaranth — all have varying degrees of good-to-eatness. The local amaranth seems to be a variety called “water hemp,” growing in wet areas. (Apparently, the weedy types are also edible and taste much like the cultivated kinds. It's also high in vitamin A and calcium, as well as a host of other healthful vitamins and minerals. I love "weeds" that can go straight into the harvest basket with the rest of the food crops! Some varieties are marketed as best for seed production, while others are bred for attractive, tasty leaves that work well in salads. Small leaves are more tender, but the larger leaves also have a full flavor. Some varieties are marketed as best for seed production, while others are bred for attractive, tasty leaves that work well in salads. The flavor is sometimes described as earthy or grassy. Smooth Amaranth flower Smooth Amaranth, green form. In other words, it’s the ideal plant for edible landscaping. In spite of some wild rumors, all amaranth can be eaten — even glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed — with a couple of caveats. Amaranth is a plant that falls into one of four categories: grain, vegetable, ornamental or weed. In terms of nutrition, "amaranth" is usually synonymous with "amaranth seed," so most of the published nutrition information refers to the seed, or amaranth flour. The seeds are a grain that can be eaten. Of course the wickedly thorny variety is what usually volunteers in my beds. Growing Amaranth in Containers. Amaranth can fall prey to many of the same pests and diseases that affect other vegetables. You can pick them as microgreens as soon as they sport two sets of true leaves, or you can wait and harvest baby leaves for fresh salads. The botanical genus name, Amaranthus , (am-a-RANTH-us) comes from the Greek word “amarandos, (Αμάραντος) which means non-fading, since its flowers last a long time. Amaranth is an ancient grain that is loaded with healthy nutrients. Good to know by Jonathan. Steam, stir-fry, saute, or mix with spaghetti sauce, rice, or meatloaf. Far from it, the amaranth is a nutritious plant with many health benefits. I’m interested in knowing how to feed ourselves and our chickens in case of disaster. A proper history of amaranth would fill an entire book (or several). Smooth Amaranth flowers are short, petiole one half the lenght of the leaf to as long as the leaf. The younger the leaves and stems the better. In many parts of the world, in South America especially, Amaranth is deemed a traditional garden vegetable crop. Not really. Amaranth loves the heat and is drought tolerant once established. Before that, it was foraged wild. By using The Spruce, you accept our, 15 Red-Flowering Plants to Consider for Your Garden, 10 Tall Annual Flowers that Make a Strong Impact, Amaranth Adds Drama to the Sunny Flower Garden. Harvesting Edible Amaranth . Today, most gardeners are familiar with Amaranthus species such as A. caudatus (love-lies-bleeding) as ornamental plants, and many don't even realize that amaranths are also edible plants that can be grown for the grain-like seeds and edible leaves. The seed is very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious. Amaranth isn't fussy about soil types. This plant was widely used for food by Native Americans of the Southwest. This amaranth has nutritious, flavorful foliage with a hearty spinach flavor that is sweet and slightly tangy. The greenish stems tend to turn red as they mature, and although most species of pigweed grow upright, prostrate pigweed (Amaranthus blitoides and Amaranthus blitoides) grows along the ground.

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