The genus is native to Mexico and Central America. In pre-Hispanic times, amaranth was cultivated by the Aztec and their tributary communities in a quantity very similar to maize. Known to the Aztecs as huāuhtli, amaranth is thought to have represented up to 80% of their energy consumption before the Spanish conquest.
Amaranth has quite a dramatic history. It was cultivated by the mighty Aztecs about 6,000-8,000 years ago. Amaranth was not just a food staple for the Aztecs. It played a big part in their worship.
Where do amaranth seeds come from?
Archeological evidence of seeds from A. Hypochondriacus and A. Crutenus found in a cave in Tehuacán, Mexico, suggests amaranth was part of Aztec civilization in the 1400s. Ancient amaranth grains still used include the three species, Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus.
Where do amaranths grow?
Amaranth is a plant of the family of Amaranthaceae. About 60 species are native to the Americas, whereas less numerous are the species originally from Europe, Africa, and Asia. The most widespread species are native to North, Central and South America, and these are A. Caudatus, and A., and hypochondriacus.
Another frequent question is “Where does amaranth grow in South America?”.
The origin of the third species of grain amaranth, A. Caudatus, is more uncertain to Sauer. Amaranthus caudatus has been used in South America’s Andean highlands (Peru, Bolivia, Argentina) for centuries but the timing and location of domestication are unknown.
How many species of Amaranthus are native to the Americas?
About 60 species are native to the Americas, and only 15 are the species originally from Europe, Africa, and Asia. The most widespread species are A. Cruentus and A. Hypochondriacus native to North and Central America, and A. Caudatus, from South America. Amaranthus cruentus, and A. Hypochondriacus are native of Mexico and Guatemala.
Is amaranth a weed?
Amaranthus retroflexus, “pig weed,” is a wild amaranth species native to the United States and is considered a weed in the Northeast, Nebraska and Great Plains, South, and West. The name derives from the plant’s tendency to sprout where hogs are pasture-fed. Although both its leaves and its seeds are edible,.
Amaranth is considered a ” pseudocereal “ rather than an actual grain since it’s technically a seed. Other examples of pseudocereals are buckwheat and quinoa; both amaranth and quinoa are from the family Amaranthaceae. Like other cereal grains and pseudocereals, amaranth can be prepared in its whole seed form or ground into flour.
What is amaranth and what does it taste like?
Because of the high proteins, minerals and vitamins present in amaranth seeds, these ancient cultures depended on the grain as a major staple in their diets. Amaranth is still the native crop in Peru, and it’s grown in Africa, India, China, Russia, South America and North America.
This begs the question “What are the different types of amaranth grains?”
Ancient amaranth grains still used include the three species, Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. Although amaranth was cultivated on a large scale in ancient Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru, nowadays it is only cultivated on a small scale there, along with India, China, Nepal,.
What is amaranth used for in Mexico?
Amaranthus cruentus, and A. Hypochondriacus are native of Mexico and Guatemala. Cruentus is used in Mexico to produce typical sweets called alegría, in which the amaranth grains are toasted and mixed with honey or chocolate. Amaranthus caudatus is a widely distributed staple food both in South America and in India.