Amaranth Advantage Cultivated by the Aztecs 8,000 years ago and still a native crop in Peru, the ancient history of amaranth can be traced to Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. Today, it’s grown in Africa, India, China, Russia, throughout South America , and emerging once again in North America. Why is amaranth banned in the US?
When growing amaranth, harvest time depends on what you are growing the plants for. Leaves can be ready a month after planting, while flowers take about 2 months and seeds up to 3 or more months. Harvesting Leaves, Seeds and Flowers Amaranth leaves are ready to harvest in about 30 -45 days.
It normally grows to about 4 or 6 feet with maroon or crimson color seed heads. The amaranth grains are tiny, only a millimeter in diameter, round to oval, usually off-white to brown in color, and one gram of seeds hold about 1,000-3,000 seeds.
What are amaranth seeds?
Amaranth is an ancient grain that is similar to quinoa. The small, light tan colored seed is cooked similarly to rice and oats and eaten as a pilaf or porridge. Amaranth is also ground into a flour and used in baking, particularly in recipes that are gluten-free.
Amaranth is a group of more than 60 different species of grains that have been cultivated for about 8,000 years. Amaranth is classified as a pseudocereal, meaning that it’s not technically a cereal grain like wheat or oats, but it shares a comparable set of nutrients and is used in similar ways. See further detail related to it here.
This of course begs the question “What kind of soil does amaranth like?”
Amaranth plants grow well in average to rich, well-draining soil with equal amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. Like many vegetable crops, it needs at least five hours of sunlight a day to do well. While it grows best in moist but well drained soil, it will tolerate somewhat dry soil too.
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.
If you want to grow amaranth as a grain, some amaranth varieties to consider include: 1 Amaranthus caudatus 2 Amaranthus cruentus 3 Amaranthus hypochondriacus 4 Amaranthus retroflexus More.
Amaranth has more protein than wheat; whereas 1 cup of whole wheat flour has 16 grams of protein, 1 cup of raw amaranth contains 28.1 grams. Oats are a close second with 26.3 grams of protein. Raw white rice contains 13.1 grams, and white flour has 11 grams of protein.
Is amaranth a good food crop?
Though the amaranth plant is typically grown as a decorative flower in North America and Europe, it is, in fact, an excellent food crop that is grown in many parts of the world. Growing amaranth for food is fun and interesting, and adds a little bit of something different to your vegetable garden.
Amaranth’s protein digestibility score is an impressive 90 percent , much higher than problematic foods such as soy, milk and wheat. Amaranth seeds contain 5 percent to 9 percent high-quality oil, again, much higher than the common grains.
You should be wondering “Is amaranth a good source of vitamin-E?”
Being seeds instead of cereal grains, amaranth indeed is an excellent source of vitamin-E (α-tocopherol). 100 g of seeds carry 1.8 mg or 8% of daily recommended levels of this vitamin. The seeds are also a prominent source of essential fatty acids.
What is the glycemic index of amaranth&wheat?
A mix consisting of half amaranth and half wheat has a GI of 75.5, and a mix containing 25 percent amaranth and 75 percent wheat has a GI of 65.6, similar to that of wheat alone, which has a GI of 65.7.