Amaranth


Amaranth
(Amaranthus)

A tiny ancient seed that produces one of the smallest of all sprouts.

Amaranth is an ancient pseudograin which has been used for millennia for its leaf and its seed. In the sprout world it is generally used as a seed, though it can be grown into Micro-Greens as well. As a Micro Green, its flavour can be unpleasant.

It's a tiny seed, which produces red-tinged sprouts whether you soak it or not – tasty with great texture.

Amaranth (Amaranthus)
Seed to Sprout in 2-4 Days
Yield = 1.5:1
Seed Shelf Life at 21°C/70° = 2 years
Sprout Shelf Life = 1-2 weeks

Nutritional info:
Vitamins A, B, C and E
Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium
Amino Acids
Protein: 15%

The ultimate root of "amaranth" is the Greek ἀμάραντος (amarantos) "unfading" with the Greek word for "flower" ἄνθος (anthos) factoring into the word's development as "amaranth" – the more correct "amarant" is an archaic variant.

You can toss some Amaranth Sprouts into or onto just about anything you eat. Their size is a great visual addition to any dish.

Several studies have shown that Amaranth has a positive effect on a variety of ailments; hypertension, heart disease and cholesterol to name a few.

Several species are raised for amaranth "grain" in Asia and the Americas. This should more correctly be termed "pseudograin". Amaranth grain contains no gluten and is safe to consume for individuals with coeliac disease.

Ancient amaranth grains still used to this day include the three species, Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. Although amaranth was (and still is) cultivated on a small scale in parts of Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, India, and Nepal, there is potential for further cultivation in the U.S and tropical countries. In a 1977 article in Science, amaranth was described as "the crop of the future." It has been proposed as an inexpensive native crop that could be cultivated by indigenous people in rural areas for several reasons:
• It is easily harvested.
• It produces lots of fruit and thus seeds, which are used as grain.
• It is highly tolerant of arid environments, which are typical of most subtropical and some tropical regions, and
• its seeds contain large amounts of protein and essential amino acids, such as lysine.
• Amaranthus species contain about thirty percent more protein than most common cereals, like rice, wheat, oats, and rye.
• It requires little fuel to cook. As befits its weedy life history, amaranth grains grow very rapidly and their large seed heads can weigh up to 1 kilogram and contain half a million seeds.

Amaranth was one of the staple foodstuffs of the Incas, and it is known as kiwicha in the Andes today. It was also used by the ancient Aztecs, who called it huautli, and other Native America peoples in Mexico to prepare ritual drinks and foods. To this day, amaranth grains are toasted much like popcorn and mixed with honey, molasses or chocolate to make a treat called alegría, meaning "joy" in Spanish. Diego Duran described the festivities for Huitzilopochtli, a blue butterfly god. (Real butterflies feed on amaranth flowers.) The Aztec month of Panquetzaliztli (7 December to 26 December) was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli. People decorated their homes and trees with paper flags; there were ritual races, processions, dances, songs, prayers, and finally human sacrifices. This was one of the more important Aztec festivals, and the people prepared for the whole month. They fasted or ate very little; a statue of the god was made out of amaranth (huautli) seeds and honey, and at the end of the month, it was cut into small pieces so everybody could eat a little piece of the god. After the Spanish conquest, cultivation of amaranth was outlawed, while some of the festivities were subsumed into the Christmas celebration.

Because of its importance as a symbol of indigenous culture, and because it is very palatable, easy to cook, and its protein particularly well suited to human nutritional needs, interest in grain amaranth (especially A. cruentus and A. hypochondriacus) revived in the 1970s. It was recovered in Mexico from wild varieties and is now commercially cultivated. It is a popular snack sold in Mexico City and other parts of Mexico, sometimes mixed with chocolate or puffed rice, and its use has spread to Europe and parts of North America. Amaranth and quinoa are called pseudograins because of their flavour and cooking similarities to grains. These are dicot plant seeds, and both contain exceptionally complete protein for plant sources. Besides protein, amaranth grain provides a good source of dietary fibre and dietary minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and especially manganese. It has been claimed to be beneficial in preventing greying of hair.

Amaranth grain is a crop of moderate importance in the Himalayas.

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