Friday, August 6, 2010
The rich grains of amaranth
There are 3 types of amaranth a/an ornamental, leafy green, and grain.
As of now I have the 2 good types of amaranth the summer green and grain.
The great thing about the grain is its such a heavy producer you don't need a huge space for it. They say in a 100 sq ft space you will get 10-15 pounds of grain.
As I'm learning it was a native american staple but was all but wiped out when we invaded switching to a more "civalized" crop like wheat and potatoes. The result? Malnutrition and high infant mortality wide spread through the native americans.
Amaranth has the highest lysine content of any grain and ranks the highest (only matched by quinoa) in protein, and vitamins like B, E, iron, potassium, calcium, and others like zinc.
As a huge plus its gluten-free!
Amaranth loves warm/hot humid seasons. (Perfect for the florida gardener)
The seeds can be used whole, flaked, popped, or ground into a flour. And many say the white-seeded types taste better then the black-seeded types.
Amaranth is normally ready for harvest around 3 months after planting. (You can tell when ready when plant loses seeds when shaked.) The seeds are easily removed from the plant just by rubbing the seed head between your hands over a bucket. Winnow as you would other grains to remove the chaff.
Make sure the grain is fully dry before storing to discourage mold.
You must cook amaranth before eating because the raw grain blocks vitamin absorption.
You substitute up to 25% of flour with amaranth flour in yeast breads (this is because it has no gluten) or you can use 100% amaranth flour in any quick bread like biscuits, and muffins.
Happy adventures in growing amaranth.
Sources: Homegrowin whole grains by: Sara Pitzer