Amaranth has another edible advantage: the leaves can be harvested as a vegetable. As they sprout, thin the plants out to a spacing of 10 to 18 inches. Depending on variety, this may take several rinsings due to the amount of chaff. Flowering amaranth plants can still have their leaves harvested to eat, but you may find that the flavor changes after the amaranth plant flowers. Be aware, though, that if the original plants were hybrids, the volunteer seedlings may not "come true" and may look different than the parent plant. In spite of some wild rumors, all amaranth can be eaten — even glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed — with a couple of caveats. Awesome, I'm glad it was helpful! Amaranth seed or grain is also edible when toasted or milled into flour. Steam, stir-fry, saute, or mix with spaghetti sauce, rice, or meatloaf. For the casual forager, though, amaranth leaves are more accessible and require little processing effort compared with the seed. You can harvest both leaves and grain from any amaranth, but if your goal is an edible plant, choose a variety based on your goals. Amaranth can fall prey to many of the same pests and diseases that affect other vegetables. Great article! Average outdoor temps need to reach about 55 degrees Fahrenheit before planting the seedlings outdoors. Redroot Amaranth grows as an erect, annual herb reaching a height of 9 feet. This works better if you have mesh bags. copyright © 2010-2020 Wild Edible, all rights reserved | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions. You can also use the leaves of amaranth as a leafy vegetable; the taste is similar to spinach and they can be used in the same way as many of the leafy vegetables, especially in mixed-green salads. Sorting out some amaranths Amaranthus hybridus, aka Smooth Amaranth, stems can be red or green Smooth Amaranth red leaf hairy, green can be hairless. Amaranths are usually planted from seeds as soon as the last frost has passed in the spring. The stems are usually smooth or slightly hairy except for spiny pigweed (Amaranthus spinosus), which has thorns — I first discovered this when unsuspectingly weeding my garden with bare hands. Harvesting Edible Amaranth . Palmer's amaranth is native to the southwest U.S. and Mexico, but it has aggressively expanded its range, becoming invasive in many parts of the world. Shake the bag once they are dry, or knock the seeds loose over a cloth. Overview Information Amaranth is a plant. Amaranthus palmeri, Palmer […] The botanical genus name, Amaranthus , (am-a-RANTH-us) comes from the Greek word “amarandos, (Αμάραντος) which means non-fading, since its flowers last a long time. Every part of the amaranth plant is edible: roots, seeds, stem, leaves, and flowers. Cooked amaranth seeds are sort of nutty. Spiny amaranth has edible leaves and might be a medicine and sex aid. Many parts of the plants, including the leaves and seeds, are edible, and are frequently used as a source of food in India and South America – where it is the most important Andean species of Amaranthus, known as kiwicha. Amaranth also has a propensity to accumulate nitrates and oxalates, which can make it unpalatable and unsafe for eating, especially when it grows in soil that's been over-exposed to nitrates from commercial fertilizer. Avoid using commercial pesticides with a "wait to pick" or any other type of warning regarding consumption. I have it growing all over my garden and I've just been pulling it out and throwing it in my compost pile but I think I'll start harvesting it to eat. In terms of nutrition, "amaranth" is usually synonymous with "amaranth seed," so most of the published nutrition information refers to the seed, or amaranth flour. The edible leaves are known as Chinese spinach. It is a traditional food of Native Americans including the … Amaranth is enjoyed by birds, insects, and also makes a great cut flower. Amaranth is a plant that falls into one of four categories: grain, vegetable, ornamental or weed. Pigweed seeds should never be eaten raw. The flower spikes are probably the plant's most identifiable trait. Having ample potassium in the body helps move oxygen to the brain which stimulates n… Smooth Amaranth flowers are short, petiole one half the lenght of the leaf to as long as the leaf. Andrey Zharkikh / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0. The seeds are ready to harvest when they start falling off of the plant, usually towards middle to late summer. Edible Parts. When the seeds are dry and ready to separate, either thresh by rubbing the flower heads in your hands over a container, or by gently beating the bags of flower heads with a stick. When harvesting the leaves, make sure to leave the crown and some leaves around the top to continue growing. The Amaranthus genus is a complicated one, featuring at least 75 annual and perennial species that easily cross-breed and hybridize. If you want to harvest the plants for seeds, it will take about 12 weeks for the plants to reach full maturity. Many Asian and African dishes make use of amaranth greens. Various wild species of amaranth are saddled with the label pigweed, particularly in North America, and several of those now feature on the list of the world’s weeds that have developed a resistance to glyphosate. You can pick them as microgreens as soon as they sport two sets of true leaves, or you can wait and harvest baby leaves for fresh salads. The seeds are a grain that can be eaten. Amaranth leaves and grains were one of the staple foods of Aztecs and Incas in pre-Columbian times. The seed is very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious. Thanks for your support! Historically, the use of amaranth as an ornamental plant is a relatively recent development. One part seeds to two parts water is a happy medium. Amaranth is a wonderfully versatile plant that’s a beautiful flower, a delicious vegetable, and a nutritious grain all in one. Sushila Chaudhari , MSU Department of Horticulture’s new edible specialty crops weed scientist, will be investigating the distribution of this weed species in Michigan as well as the biology and control options available. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. The weedy amaranth types are also edible and taste much like the cultivated varieties. Amaranth's/pigweed's favorite stomping grounds are disturbed areas like fields, yards, and the edges of woods. By using The Spruce, you accept our, 15 Red-Flowering Plants to Consider for Your Garden, 10 Tall Annual Flowers that Make a Strong Impact, Amaranth Adds Drama to the Sunny Flower Garden. Gomphrena globosa, commonly known as globe amaranth, makhmali, and vadamalli, is an edible plant from the family Amaranthaceae.The round-shaped flower inflorescences are a visually dominant feature and cultivars have been propagated to exhibit shades of magenta, purple, red, orange, white, pink, and lilac. North America is home to both native and introduced species of pigweed -- at least one species can be found throughout the entire continent. Here is a detailed look at amaranth and its health benefits. The flavor is sometimes described as earthy or grassy. Amaranth is related to a common weed you probably know, pigweed. Not only are its leaves delectable, its seeds are also edible and nutritious as well. Large size and heat won’t turn amaranth leaves bitter, as often occurs with other leafy greens. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board, 2 to 7 feet (depends on species and variety). Amaranth greens nutrition facts. You can consume them raw, stir-fried, or sauteed. It was a main staple of the Aztecs and was cultivated by them as long as 8,000 years ago. In reply to Great article! Some varieties are marketed as best for seed production, while others are bred for attractive, tasty leaves that work well in salads.
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