What Is Amaranth Grain?
Often referred to as a grain, it is actually the seed of a plant that was originally cultivated by the ancient Aztec people of Central America.
It was greatly revered as a staple food source but was also
used in Aztec rituals of human sacrifice. For this reason it was almost completely wiped out by the Spanish conquistadors who destroyed
its crops in hopes of ending the practice of human sacrifice.
Luckily in a few remote areas of Central America this six-foot tall,
colorful plant, with its edible leaves and nutritious seeds, was somehow cultivated in secret and thus preserved. It is now cultivated
and eaten around the world.
It can be cooked as a cereal, puffed and popped like popcorn
(see our how to video), or added to soups and stews as a thickener. It can be
ground into flour and be used in pancakes and pasta but because it is a seed it contains no gluten. So this type of flour must be mixed with
glutinous flours to make any kind of leavened bread.
Amaranth Nutrition and Health Benefits
It is high in protein, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and magnesium. To see how it compares, nutritionally, to other whole grains go to our whole grain comparison charts
It is a great source of protein, minerals, and vitamins which contribute to high energy levels, healthy cell growth, strong bones, an improved immune system, and proper muscle and nerve function. It is also 90% digestible which makes it a good food for those recovering from illness because the body will absorb most of its nutrients.
How To Cook Amaranth?
1 part raw seeds to 2 1/2 parts liquid. Simmer 18-20 minutes. Increase water to 3 cups when cooking it as a breakfast cereal.
But be careful not to overcook it as it can burn or become mushy.
It has a mild, sweet,
and nutty (almost creamy) flavor.
The raw seed should be eaten within
3 - 6 months of purchase, but if refrigerated and stored properly
, it can last as long as a year.
How to cook with this type of flour...
Flower pictures and info about these type of plants...
General information and cooking instructions for the edible varieties of this plant
Where to Buy
Find out where to buy this healthy whole grain locally and online...