“Amaranth has been around for a very long time, consumed by the pre-Columbian Aztecs, who referred to it as huauhtli. Amaranth seeds were used in ancient rituals and celebrations, specifically for a unique festival called Huizilopochtli, which means "left-handed hummingbird," named so because hummingbirds draw nectar from amaranth flowers. The festival was held in December, and people used amaranth seeds (as well as honey) to create a statue of one of their gods. The festival also consisted of singing, dancing, praying, and even human sacrifices.
When planted, amaranth grows beautifully lush ruby red leaves (though sometimes also grows to become green or even gold), and is often eaten in its leafy form in Asia, often cooked in stir fries, soups, curries, and daals.
Amaranth is also grown in Africa, where nutritional food may be scarce in certain parts of the continent.
Because of its vibrant red flowers, amaranth can also be used as a dye, originally by the Hopi tribe.”
Amaranth (both seeds and leaves) are packed with thiamine, niacin, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese, zinc, and copper, and its leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C and folate. As well, its seeds are a great source of dietary fibre.
Because it's gluten-free, those who have celiacs disease may use amaranth leaves as a great source of protein.
If you wish to harvest amaranth seeds of your own, leave a few of your microgreens uncut, and simply plant your microgreen pot in your garden or in a large pot. The pot will break down, allowing your amaranth microgreens to grow into a full-sized plant. Be sure it receives adequate nutrition, water and sunlight :)
Store on your kitchen bench, in filtered - direct sunlight (by a window is perfect!). When you notice the soil or the outside of the pot drying out, mist the microgreens with a spray bottle of water (if easier, simply mist twice a day). Kept like this, they should keep growing on your bench for up to two weeks.
To harvest, use sharp scissors or a very sharp knife, to avoid pulling out the roots and dirtying your microgreens. You can harvest your microgreens for storage in a sealed container in the fridge, just ensure they are dry to increase shelf-life.
In the Kitchen
Amaranth microgreens are favoured by chefs and home cooks alike for their striking appearance and earthy flavour. They are a beautiful addition to any dish, and the nutritional benefits are an added plus! Cut and use your microgreens sprinkled on top of your eggs in the morning, tossed through a salad, or even as a edible decoration on a cheese platter.
Carrot and Amaranth Micro Salad
From Good News Farm
1 carrot, large, peeled and shaved
1 green apple, julienned - 1
1 kale Leaf - 1, Finely Chopped
1 spring onion - 1 Small, thinly Sliced
Handful of amaranth micros
1 tbsp blood orange juice
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Arrange by layers starting with a bed of finely chopped kale then the apple, then carrots, and top with the amaranth which will cascade down over all.
Drizzle with blood orange vinaigrette over all.