All amaranth foliage, which ranges from green to yellow, orange and red, like Hopi red dye amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus x A. powelli), is edible. The seeds are ready to harvest when they start falling off of the plant, usually towards middle to late summer. Amaranth Recipe Ideas. 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. The bulk seed is uses as a "grain" in porridges or added as a thickener to soups and stews. Overview Information Amaranth is a plant. The flavor is sometimes described as earthy or grassy. 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. Both the leaves and stems are edible. 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. As they sprout in spring, the volunteers can be thinned out to about 10 to 18 inches apart, or carefully dug up and transplanted elsewhere. Thanks for your support! You can consume them raw, stir-fried, or sauteed. Angela England is the author of "Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less)," and edits the online publication Blissfully Domestic. Very rich soils are not necessary for amaranth, and may even hinder flowering and seed production. 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. 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. Make sure the site you choose has good drainage and air circulation. Root rot can be a problem in wet, dense soil or in periods where rainfalls are frequent and copious. So you can get away with growing them 10 to 18 inches apart. Many of these types of pesticides are broad spectrum designed to eliminate multiple insect pests and may contain ingredients that aren't meant to be ingested by humans. 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. Photo by Ben Werling, MSU Extension. Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), is a close relative of amaranth and considered a weed but can be used in much the same way as amaranth. If you find lambsquarters, you're likely to find amaranth growing nearby, as they're similar plants and do well in similar conditions. 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. Presently, its growth is mainly concentrated in tropical climates of Latin Americas, Asia and Africa. Amaranthus palmeri, Palmer […] Palmer amaranth, aka Palmer pigweed (Amaranthus Palmeri), one of the better known species, has a reputation for being an invasive weed that plagues cotton and soybean fields in the South. This amaranth has nutritious, flavorful foliage with a hearty spinach flavor that is sweet and slightly tangy. Pigweed is one of the common names given to a clutch of Amaranth species that crash parties where they are not wanted. 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. Many Asian and African dishes make use of amaranth greens. Since amaranth is such a weedy, farmer-plaguing plant, be careful harvesting in areas that may have been sprayed with toxic chemicals — or that may have absorbed high levels of nitrates from fertilizer. In many parts of the world, in South America especially, Amaranth is deemed a traditional garden vegetable crop. It makes a great salad ingredient after spring greens have been harvested or are bolting. Today, most gardeners are familiar with Amaranthus species such as A. caudatus (love-lies-bleeding) as ornamental plants, and many don't even realize that amaranths are also edible plants that can be grown for the grain-like seeds and edible leaves. The seeds are extremely nutritious and protein-packed with a slightly nutty flavor. The seed, oil, and leaf are used as food. These are very easy-to-grow plants, as befits a genus with many species that grow as roadside native plants. Harvesting Amaranth Plants. There are around 60 species of amaranth — all have varying degrees of good-to-eatness. 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. I frequently see it on the edges of fields and parks. The flowers eventually dry out and yield tiny husked seeds which may then be harvested. I'd never heard of it but I just googled it. Although amaranth leaves are edible and a good nutrition source in their own right, many people harvest the small seeds which grow on the plants (up to 60,000 per plant) and eat them either whole or ground into flour. A proper history of amaranth would fill an entire book (or several). Amaranth loves the heat and is drought tolerant once established. Ancient super-food? Rinse away the dried seed “chaff” and enjoy your grain harvest. I’m gathering amaranth to collect seed to feed my chickens. Oil made from Amaranth plants can be used in food preparation, body lotions, soap, and related products. 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. See the USDA's amaranth leaves nutrition table for details. Amaranth is enjoyed by birds, insects, and also makes a great cut flower. Amaranth greens nutrition facts. Pigweed has a mild flavour and is often mixed with stronger flavoured leaves. Amaranth is a hardy plant that thrives in tropical climates around the world. In fact, excessive nitrogen will cause the plants to become leggy and less suitable for harvesting. You often hear amaranth called an ancient grain because it was once grown and harvested by Aztec and Inca civilizations. North America is home to both native and introduced species of pigweed -- at least one species can be found throughout the entire continent. In fact, once-upon-a-time, this was the primary reason amaranth served as a staple in home cottage gardens. Including Amaranthus retroflexus (red root pigweed), A. spinosus (spiny pigweed), A. palmeri (Palmer’s pigweed), and A. hybridus (rough pigweed), these uninvited agricultural and garden guests are so ubiquitous that they seldom invite closer scrutiny from farmers … Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. pseudo-cereal seeds are not the same as "true" grains. I'm partial to its cousin, lambsquarters, but amaranth leaves are definitely worth foraging. Nearly all amaranths are edible, including love-lies-bleeding and even the common road-side weedy forms. Inflorescences of Powell amaranth (left) and purple amaranth (right). Good to know pigweed is so nutritious! One to one makes a really firm consistency. Average outdoor temps need to reach about 55 degrees Fahrenheit before planting the seedlings outdoors. Avoid using commercial pesticides with a "wait to pick" or any other type of warning regarding consumption. Or, you can cut the whole plant down off at ground level when it is 1 to 2 feet tall. Aztec ritual. Amaranth is a wonderfully versatile plant that’s a beautiful flower, a delicious vegetable, and a nutritious grain all in one. Not only are its leaves delectable, its seeds are also edible and nutritious as well. And unlike a lot of gluten-free wheat alternatives, it's really good for you. One of the amaranth seed's most attractive traits, in an era of anti-wheat, is simply the fact that amaranth is gluten-free. Tocotrienols are a form of vitamin E that may reduce cholesterol as well as your risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the 2014 addition of the journal Nutrition & Metabolism. The closer you can get them, the better they look once fully grown. Far from it, the amaranth is a nutritious plant with many health benefits. Smooth Amaranth flowers are short, petiole one half the lenght of the leaf to as long as the leaf.