Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, Herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist with decades of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals. Photo by Univ. They mixed the seeds with honey and occasionally human blood to render images of deities for worship. Five centuries later, during the 1970s, interest in growing amaranth gained traction because of its healthful attributes — amaranth is high in protein and fiber — and today a few thousand acres of the crop are sown annually in the United States. In other words, it’s the ideal plant for edible landscaping. So you can get away with growing them 10 to 18 inches apart. Just wanted to let you know, amaranth is a very popular leafy vegetable eaten in India. Allow the seedheads to sit in a dry spot indoors for up to a week. Amaranth has been grown continuously in the Americas for thousands of years. The Aztecs, who called amaranth huauhtli, used it as food and in religious ceremonies. One of the most commonly grown and top-producing grain cultivars is ‘Burgundy’ (, The seeds of most grain amaranths are tiny, ranging from, Amaranth cultivars grown mainly as ornamentals are true showstoppers in the garden, with brilliant color and feathery flower plumes. Already a Member but haven't activated your account? The entire plant is used to make medicine. 4.3 out of 5 stars 7. Find more Amaranth varieties here. The seeds are extremely nutritious and protein-packed with a slightly nutty flavor. Amaranth cultivars grown mainly as ornamentals are true showstoppers in the garden, with brilliant color and feathery flower plumes. Amaranth nearly disappeared from the region after this practice was forbidden by the Spanish in the 15th century. Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95! Become a Preferred Subscriber and start enjoying the benefits today! 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 grains are especially good in a porridge that also contains other grains, such as millet and quinoa. If you gently shake a seedhead and seeds easily fall off, you’ll know you’ve chosen the right time to harvest. Amaranth is an annual and grows very rapidly, but if your frost-free season is short and you’re eager to grow it for grain, you can step up the process by starting the seeds indoors in late April. (Sadly, little can be done if the growing season is cool and rainy.) The cooked leaves can be used variously as simple green side dishes, in quiches, green Mediterranean-style pies, bruschetta toppings, pestos, soups, and saags. It’s possible that it will resprout for another harvest, though you do risk introducing pests to the open stem. Many species are native to the southern U.S. and Mexico, so you can expect it to thrive even when late spring and summer is unusually warm. Amaranth greens are nutritious, edible leafy vegetables of Central American origin. If consumption is the goal, choose annual amaranth varieties marketed as edibles. The soil should be loose, not too heavy with clay particles, and have a pH in the range of 6.5 to 7.5. Amaranth is a group of more than 60 different species of grains that have been cultivated for about 8,000 years. Don’t miss a single issue of Mother Earth Gardener. Above: Amaranths are nutritious, stuffed with vitamins, folic acid (vitamin B9), minerals, and protein. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. With their plentiful seeds, amaranth plants will readily self-seed in the garden. The plant is edible from tender stems through leaves, flowers and seeds. Once root rot occurs, the plant must be removed. 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. Unlike other leafy green vegetables, amaranth is fairly happy in the heat. Amaranth has another edible advantage: the leaves can be harvested as a vegetable. Small leaves are more tender, but the larger leaves also have a full flavor. Hopi Red Dye was new to our garden last season and it is a stunning Amaranth. Presently, its growth is mainly concentrated in tropical climates of Latin Americas, Asia and Africa. Other cultivated varieties with green leaves are sometimes cultivated as a potherb. The common garden and lawn denizen, redroot pigweed (A. retroflexus) is a member of the genus. Sheryl Normandeau is a freelance writer and homesteader from Calgary, Alberta. Leaf also has white ribs on back. In cooked and edible forms, amaranth retains adequate content of several dietary minerals. There are at least 50 species of the genus Amaranthus, including some grown primarily for ornamental use. • Heirloom seed-saving techniques All amaranth foliage, which ranges from green to yellow, orange and red, like Hopi red dye amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus x A. powelli), is edible. Amaranth seeds are harvested in fall and cleaned, sorted, and packaged for sale as a food that's cooked much like quinoa (a relative of amaranth). Unavailable for 2021 . Amaranth leaves can be eaten raw or used as a spinach substitute in any dish. Read on to find out how to harvest amaranth and other information about harvesting amaranth grains. Growing Amaranth in Containers. Store the harvested dried seed in glass jars for up to six months in a refrigerator or in a dry location out of direct sunlight. Plants are not quite as tall as Golden Giant and Elena’s Rojo; they grow to about 4-6 feet. Amaranth contains more protein than many grains and is high in calcium, antioxidants and minerals. Amaranth germinates in 7 to 14 days at a minimum ambient temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that some species of amaranth leaves, particularly purple amaranth… But those sold as edible varieties are selected for their good seed production and especially tasty leaves. Damping off can be an issue in newly-emerged seedlings, so select a site with good drainage, be sure plants are watered judiciously, and offer proper air circulation. Amaranth is drought-tolerant after it’s established and requires little supplementary water unless your climate is very arid. Boil in water with twice the amount of water as grain by volume (or 2.4 times as much water by weight). It can also have many branches The edible leaves are known as Chinese spinach. Green Pointed Leaf Edible Amaranth Plant. Vlita (βλήτα) in Greek: Smooth Amaranth’s leaves can have chevrons. Purslane can often be found in moist garden beds, lawns, and shady areas, where it lies … Nearly all amaranths are edible, including love-lies-bleeding and even the common road-side weedy forms. When heated, the seeds can burst like popcorn. Look for gorgeous A. caudatus ‘Green Tails,’ which has bright green drooping flower plumes, or the well-known A. caudatus ‘Love-Lies-Bleeding’ — its deep red flower plumes are an absolute standout in hanging baskets. For a tasty treat, heat amaranth grains until they pop, and mix them with chocolate and nuts. Some amaranth species produce an edible seed head that forms a fuzzy spikelet. ‘Hopi Red Dye’ (A. cruentus) is a versatile heirloom amaranth — the flowers produce a deep red dye, and the plants supply large quantities of black seeds that are excellent as a grain. Aphids are another potential problem, but you can easily dispatch them with strong blasts of water from the garden hose or an application of insecticidal soap. Amaranth leaves and grains were one of the staple foods of Aztecs and Incas in pre-Columbian times. Germination generally takes 7 to 14 days. If you want to harvest the plants for seeds, it will take about 12 weeks for the plants to reach full maturity. For one, any plant that survives the onslaught of toxic petro-pesticides will most likely harbor the toxic constituents of the pesticide and pass them on to whomever eats the plant.Amaranth also has a propensity to accumulate nitrates and oxalates, which can make it unpalatable and unsafe for eating, especially w… Although edible, the blossoms usually indicate that the leaves are past their prime for eating. Botanically a pseudo-grain rather than a true grain, such as wheat and rye, amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) Already a Member but haven't activated your account? The seed, oil, and leaf are used as food. Amaranth grows well in any average well-drained soil, but it will struggle in dense clay soils. The seeds are a grain that can be eaten. Green Round Leaf Edible Amaranth Plant. Amaranth needs plenty of sunlight to be at its most productive, so you should choose a site with a minimum of six hours of full sun. Young leaves and shoot tips are eaten between 3 to 6 weeks after seeds are sown. Look for gorgeous. The bulk seed is uses as a "grain" in porridges or added as a thickener to soups and stews. Read … has been grown for its tiny, nutritious seeds for thousands of years in Central America, India, Africa, and China. The Amaranthus genus is a complicated one, featuring at least 75 annual and perennial species that easily cross-breed and hybridize. Amaranth plants have average needs for water (no more than 1 inch per week). Average outdoor temps need to reach about 55 degrees Fahrenheit before planting the seedlings outdoors. After the seedheads have completely dried, shake the seed into the pan. While amaranth plants are tall, they aren’t necessarily wide or bushy. 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. While the leaves on all 60 varieties of Amaranth are edible, some have prickly spikes on the surface – somewhat like stinging nettle. Amaranth is susceptible to many of the same pests as other vegetables. As a bonus, amaranth grains can be heated until they pop, much like corn kernels. Thanks! The seeds, like that of quinoa, are high in protein and taste similar to true grains grown from grass seeds. Amaranthus caudatus known by common names as love-lies-bleeding, pendant amaranth, tassel flower, velvet flower, foxtail amaranth, and quilete.. Amaranths don't require any feeding. Keep an eye on the flowers as they bloom and then begin to die back. for grain and microgreens. Some amaranth grain is milled into flour. Palmer's Amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) is wild, edible and nutritious food. When harvesting the leaves, make sure to leave the crown and some leaves around the top to continue growing. Very rich soils are not necessary for amaranth, and may even hinder flowering and seed production. • Organic gardening tips to improve your health and wellness At the same time, they need enough space to provide good air circulation. The leaves of the amaranth have a medicinal value and are used as herb effective for the treatment of ailments such as diarrhea and stopping bleeding. Use bypass pruners or sharp scissors to cut off the seedheads, and place them on a large, raised-edge baking sheet lined with newspaper. This may include the practice of spacing plants out more in rows so the foliage is not so dense. Amaranth Recipe Ideas. Top of leaf may or may not have a white chevron watermark. Amaranth isn't fussy about soil types. 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. Register Today! If you are eager for early harvest, you can start the seeds indoors as much as eight weeks earlier. Edible amaranth is often grown for the plentiful tiny seeds that hang in tassels from the top of the plant after the attractive red flowers fade. It’s important to time the harvest so the plants don’t drop seed onto the planting site, which would encourage innumerable volunteers the following spring. 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. Depending on variety, this may take several rinsings due to the amount of chaff. Many Asian and African dishes make use of amaranth greens. 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. Amaranth does best in full sun in the northern part of its range, but in warm southern climates, it benefits from some shade in the afternoon. Purslane. It's also possible to collect some of the seeds in fall and replant them the following spring. Chose the fresh bunches and for a healthy treat, lightly steam them, sprinkle a few spices and a drizzle of your favourite oil. Join today and save off the newsstand price! For fresh salads, you can harvest amaranth leaves as a microgreen after they sport two true leaves, or pick baby leaves. Due to the brilliant red color of its seedlings, ‘Hopi Red Dye’ is also prized as a microgreen. Older leaves may be enjoyed steamed, sautéed, or baked in a variety of dishes, in the same way you would use spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard. Delight your taste buds, mind and eyes with beautiful photos and inspirational techniques on everything you need to know to grow, preserve and cook your own heirloom fruits and vegetables. If you are planting amaranth in containers, make sure your container is at least 10” deep. Amaranth doesn’t contain gluten, so it’s becoming increasingly popular among people with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. 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. 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). The same goes for the gomphrena (bachelor's button) and celosia (cock's comb or woolflower) species. In fact, excessive nitrogen will cause the plants to become leggy and less suitable for harvesting. Avoid using commercial pesticides with a "wait to pick" or any other type of warning regarding consumption. Our family has been eating it since generations. The flowers are used to produce the amaranth grain, while the leaves can be used as amaranth greens. (USA only), • 1 year of Mother Earth Gardener magazine both print and digital Varieties of Amaranth as Food Find more Amaranth varieties here. Nearly all amaranths are edible, including love-lies-bleeding and even the common road-side weedy forms. More Details. 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. You can always thin them, and eat the thinnings. You often hear amaranth called an ancient grain because it was once grown and harvested by Aztec and Inca civilizations. Slugs are a common predator — if you’re not too squeamish, you can remove them by hand-picking and dropping them in a bucket of salted water in early morning. Be sure to harvest amaranth seeds on a dry, warm day, because picking in cool, damp conditions may contribute to rot before you get a chance to use the seed. You’ll want to cultivate larger plants specifically grown for their seeds if you want the amaranth grain. Amaranths produce enormous quantities of tiny seeds that will rampantly self-seed around the parent plant if you don't carefully harvest the seed heads when they mature. You can pick them as microgreens as soon as they sport two sets of true leaves, or … The differences are more or less cultural preferences, as all types are edible and highly nutritious. Palmer Amaranth, leaf petiole is as long as leaf or longer. The seeds of the plants are harvested in fall, and then they’re cleaned, sorted, and packaged for sale as a food that’s cooked much like quinoa (a relative of amaranth). The seeds of most grain amaranths are tiny, ranging from 1/25- to 1/16-inch in diameter, and a single plant can produce up to 100,000 seeds! The leaves are high in vitamin A & C, assorted necessary minerals and also fiber. Find more Amaranth varieties here. First, remember that amaranth produces edible leaves, similar in taste to spinach. Amaranths are usually planted from seeds as soon as the last frost has passed in the spring. This is a very tasty, healthy plant and shame on them for classifying it as a weed… Amaranth can fall prey to many of the same pests and diseases that affect other vegetables. Spiny amaranth has edible leaves and might be a medicine and sex aid. As they sprout, thin the plants out to a spacing of 10 to 18 inches. Amaranth grows well in average soils and will grow adequately in poor soils. In fact, once-upon-a-time, this was the primary reason amaranth served as a staple in home cottage gardens. Can anyone tell me if I need to cold stratify them in order to plant / grow them this summer? To harvest grains, let the plant go all the way to flower. The amaranth plant is a grain and greens crop plant. Amend the soil with a light application of compost when preparing the planting site, but don’t worry about adding any other fertilizer later on. In Mexico, the popped seeds are mixed with honey and other foods, such as chocolate and nuts, for a tasty snack called alegría. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Mother Earth Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. There are some 60 amaranth species, maybe 70 (it depends on who’s counting.) Don’t forget to harden off tender seedlings before transplanting outdoors in late spring. The youngest leaves have the best flavor and texture, but even the large, old leaves can be chopped up and included in any food needing a vegetable. Most amaranth cultivars are harvestable 100 to 120 days after sowing. Don't overwater, or you run the risk of root rot or fungal diseases. Identify palmer's amaranth via its pictures, habitat, height, flowers and leaves. Home gardeners can easily grow amaranth for grain and microgreens. Andrey Zharkikh / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0. Sow amaranth seed directly into warm soil in late May or early June in most regions. You won’t want to miss the stories about plants passed down from generation to generation. You may have seen highly-touted amaranth listed as an ingredient on a box of cereal or in baked goods, such as bread, pasta, and crackers. Far from it, the amaranth is a nutritious plant with many health benefits. For example, Chinese amaranth leaves contain three times the amount of both calcium and niacin (vitamin B3) compared to regular spinach leaves. Root rot can also affect amaranth, but you can combat it by regulating water use. Home gardeners can grow amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) Don’t expose them to moisture or cool temperatures. This is a crop that likes the heat! The seed and leaves are both edible, tasty and highly nutritious. Amaranth greens nutrition facts. These are very easy-to-grow plants, as befits a genus with many species that grow as roadside native plants. Certain to turn heads is the fascinating A. tricolor ‘Elephant Head,’ a cultivar that was brought to the United States in the 1800s and is known for its gargantuan upright burgundy seedheads that resemble elephant trunks — beautiful and chock-full of seeds for harvest. Leaves of the Chinese amaranth are high in protein and although nutritionally similar to beets, Swiss chard and spinach, they are actually far superior. Leaves can be harvested within a few weeks of outdoor planting. Root rot can be a problem in wet, dense soil or in periods where rainfalls are frequent and copious. Amaranth is enjoyed by birds, insects, and also makes a great cut flower. Amaranth seed can also be popped one tablespoon at a time in a hot pan without oil, shaken every few seconds to avoid burning. Regardless of your cultivar, amaranth leaves can be harvested at any point. To ensure continued production, it's a good idea to stagger planting every two to three weeks, beginning a week or two after the last frost date in your region. Amaranth will not grow well in consistently damp plots, so be sure drainage is good in the chosen location. Red Stripe Leaf Edible Amaranth Plant. Shake the bag once they are dry, or knock the seeds loose over a cloth. Register now to get access to ALL current video workshops and prerecorded webinars plus anything new that we add through the end of 2020. You can follow Sheryl’s gardening adventures on her blog, www.FloweryProse.com, I have seeds harvested last fall. Make sure the site you choose has good drainage and air circulation. Angela England is the author of "Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less)," and edits the online publication Blissfully Domestic. Certain cultivars of amaranth are especially desirable for use as a vegetable crop due to superior leaf taste, texture, and color. Amaranthaceae, the amaranth family, contains some 174 genera and around 2,500 species distributed worldwide.Its members are typically herbaceous plants or subshrubs, many of which can tolerate poor saline soils.The flowers are often small and borne in dense inflorescences, and the simple leaves are usually arranged alternately along the stem. [tweet_quote] Amaranth is a vibrantly colored plant, and both its seeds and leaves are edible. Winter Herbal Remedies from the Medicinal Garden, Fabled Heirloom Potatoes from the High Andes. A pop of color can be important if you’re using amaranth as a microgreen or in a salad mix, especially for restaurant use. Space individual plants a minimum of 5 to 6 inches apart (commercial growers usually increase the crop density and space plants 3 inches apart). One of the most commonly grown and top-producing grain cultivars is ‘Burgundy’ ( A. hypochondriacus), which has dark purple leaves, red flowers, and white seeds. • Special discounted prices on tools, kits, and hands-on resources in the Mother Earth Gardener Store Select Amaranth leaves that have small thin stems and lack any flower buds. Amaranth greens may be eaten raw or cooked. Rinse away the dried seed “chaff” and enjoy your grain harvest. Amaranth has another edible advantage: the leaves can be harvested as a vegetable. Cultivars grown for use as leaf vegetables are usually harvested when they reach a height of 1 to 2 feet. Thankfully, its propensity to spread isn’t shared by all amaranth species. Amaranthus tricolor is a rapidly growing annual, widely cultivated as a garden plant for its showy, often variegated, distal leaves of striking colours---red, scarlet, maroon, purple, yellow, cream, and green. Amaranthus caudatus is a species of annual flowering plant.It goes by common names such as love-lies-bleeding, pendant amaranth,  tassel flower, velvet flower, foxtail amaranth, and quilete. Amaranth is a plant that falls into one of four categories: grain, vegetable, ornamental or weed. Amaranthus edulis is a grain amaranth that is exceptionally high in lysine, a critical amino acid that is often not found in plants. It even has medicinal qualities. But those sold as edible varieties are selected for their good seed production and especially tasty leaves. This powerhouse plant will pump out nutty-tasting seeds and spinach-flavored leaves throughout the growing season, while its seedheads add interest to your garden. Grain amaranth species tend to grow fairly large, and many will top out at a height of 5 to 7 feet. The closer you can get them, the better they look once fully grown. That's an amaranth species, Amaranthus caudatus, and yes, the leaves and seeds are edible and nutritious like any other amaranth. • Access to exclusive online content -- seasonal recipes, organic pest control & more. You can consume them raw, stir-fried, or sauteed. The soil doesn’t need to be especially fertile — in fact, too much nitrogen (especially for amaranth grown as grain) will cause the plants to become leggy and difficult to harvest. Like so many fresh Asian greens, amaranth greens need no embellishment aside from a few cloves of crushed garlic. The plant develops long flowers, which can be upright or trailing depending on the variety. The leaves with the spikes must be washed thoroughly to remove them before consuming the leaves raw or cooked. The high nutrient content and ease of growing amaranth make it an ideal plant for the future. When planting outdoors, sow seeds about 4 inches apart, barely covering them with soil. 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. Benefit 1: Treatment of Diarrhea. Large size and heat won’t turn amaranth leaves bitter, as often occurs with other leafy greens. 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. Not only are its leaves delectable, its seeds are also edible and nutritious as well. Edible Asian Chinese Red Stripe Tender Round Leaves Amaranth Seeds :18,000 Seeds (15g) by Viablekitchenseeds. In spite of some wild rumors, all amaranth can be eaten — even glyphosate-resistant Palmer pigweed — with a couple of caveats. Or, you can cut the whole plant down off at ground level when it is 1 to 2 feet tall. Amaranth is a wonderfully versatile plant that’s a beautiful flower, a delicious vegetable, and a nutritious grain all in one. (email@example.com). Some varieties are marketed as best for seed production, while others are bred for attractive, tasty leaves that work well in salads. Aphids and flea beetles are common; insecticidal soaps are a good remedy for the former, and floating row covers will protect the plants from the latter. Flea beetles may be deterred by installing a floating row cover after the plants have sprouted. The younger leaves are mild and tender while the more mature plants are slightly fibrous and develop a bitter flavor. nutty breakfast alternative to white-flour pancakes. It is easy to cook. If starting indoors, use a general seed-starting mix and make sure to harden off the seedlings before transplanting outdoors. Varieties of amaranth can range from giants topping 8 feet to smaller 1- to 2-foot plants better suited for leaf harvest only. Summary of Invasiveness Top of page. More Details. Before they all turn brown, cut the flowers off and place them in bags, where they will dry. of Fla. EDIS: Amaranth viridis, Calalu, Smooth Amaranth, leaves can notched. Historically, the use of amaranth as an ornamental plant is a relatively recent development. 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. Try delicious A. tricolor ‘Red Leaf,’ with its thick burgundy foliage, or A. tricolor ‘Joseph’s Coat,’ which has striking red, green, and yellow leaves. You can try our nutty breakfast alternative to white-flour pancakes. Cultivated in Mexico thousands of years ago, both the leaves and seeds of amaranth are edible. Deep burgundy-red flower heads with even darker stunning foliage. Only dense clay soils are likely to be completely unsuitable for amaranth. Harvesting Amaranth Plants. The leaves arae nutritious and amaranth seeds too are used to make sweetmeats and flour for making chappatis and dosas! If consumption is the goal, choose annual amaranth varieties marketed as edibles. Unavailable for 2021 .