Never Fading Flower
Latin name: Amaranthus spp
The name amaranth hails from the Greek for "never-fading flower." The Greek word is "amarantos", which means the "one that does not wither."
The wild Amaranth, admitted to the list of British plants, is an inconspicuous weed, often mistaken for an Orache or Goosefoot, sometimes found on rubbish-heaps near towns.
Wild amaranth is also known as Chinese spinach, quintonil in Mexico, yin choy in China and namul in Korea.
Medicinal Uses of Amaranth as an Herb
- The Native Indians used amaranth to stop excessive menstruation and for contraception.
- Amaranth is also used to battle stomach flu, diarrhea, and gastroenteritis.
- Applied externally, amaranth can reduce tissue swelling from sprains and tick bites.
Nutrients in Amaranth as an Herb
Amaranth seed is high in protein (15-18 percent) and contains respectable amounts of lysine and methionine, two essential amino acids that are not frequently found in grains. It is high in fiber and contains calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C. The fiber content of amaranth is three times that of wheat. Its iron content is five times more than wheat. It contains two times more calcium than milk.
Amaranth also contains tocotrienols (a form of vitamin E) which have cholesterol-lowering activity in humans.
Cooked amaranth is 90 percent digestible and because of this ease of digestion, it has traditionally been given to those recovering from an illness or ending a fasting period.
Culinary Uses of Amaranth
Although it is called a grain, amaranth is actually a seed. Like chia, it is one of the ancient foods of the Aztecs. Amaranth is another traditional food now touted as a super food or functional food. One cup of cooked amaranth contains 9.4 grams of protein, 50 percent of the daily requirement for magnesium, and is a rich source of calcium, zinc, selenium, and iron.
Organic Amaranth Grain has a colorful history, is highly nutritious, and the plant itself is extremely attractive and useful. Since 1975 amaranth has been gaining support in the U.S. and is now grown in Colorado, Illinois, Nebraska, and other states, but is still not a mainstream food. It is found in many natural food stores and the flour is often used in baked goods.
Amaranth grain has been used for food in a number of ways. The most common usage is to grind the grain into a flour for use in breads, noodles, pancakes, cereals, granola, cookies, or other flour-based products. The grain can be popped like popcorn or flaked like oatmeal. More than 40 products containing amaranth are currently on the market in the U.S.A. It can also be used as a thickening agent.
Organic Stone Ground Amaranth Flour is used in making pastas and baked goods. It must be mixed with other flours for baking yeast breads, as it contains no gluten.
One part amaranth flour to 3 to 4 parts wheat or other grain flours may be used.
To cook amaranth: Boil 1 cup seeds in 2-1/2 cups liquid such as water or half water and half stock or apple juice until seeds are tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Adding some fresh herbs or ginger root to the cooking liquid can add interesting flavors.
In France, people eat amaranth leaves in the same way as spinach.
Pop the amaranth, one tablespoon at a time, into a very hot, dry skillet, until all the grains have popped. Transfer the popped grains to a shallow bowl before adding the next tablespoon to the skillet. Toast the chia seed in the same pan, mixing the toasted chia with the popped amaranth.
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