Amaranth: An Ancient Food of Great Value

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by ChemicalGal, Feb 23, 2007.


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  1. ChemicalGal

    ChemicalGal Monkey+++

    I have bought seeds and am planning to plant quite a few rows this summer.
    Amaranth Golden Giant and Love lies bleeding (2 kinds)

    The amaranth seed was a staple along with maize of the Aztecs and Hopi indians. Both the young leaves and the seeds can be eaten. the young leaves are used the same as spinach. The seeds can be popped or ground or soaked (and cooked as oatmeal) or used for breads.
    It is higher in protein, lysine etc than many foods we eat today.
    And if global warming is real, it is very drought resistant.

    Amaranth, Golden Giant Seeds, Organic :
    Amaranth, Golden Giant (Amaranthus hypochondriacus)
    Family: Amaranthaceae

    Self-seeding annual native to
    </PLACE>South America . This is probably the easiest to grow and most highly productive food grain available to gardeners in the temperate north. Golden giant is an epic plant, giving as much as a pound of seed per plant. The seeds, embryonic capsules of goodness, readily shake free of the dry flower head and are easily cleaned with screens and wind. Our favorite way of cooking this grain is as a high-protein oatmeal—add sufficient water and simmer until done. Incredible. Plant takes about 100 days to mature, and prefers full sun and rich garden soil. Direct seed in early spring. </P>

    A lot more info on the plant can be found at http://www.eau.ee/~agronomy/vol012/Svirskis.pdf

    This could be an important survival crop.
    CG
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    Interesting read and seeds...... had to go check out what it looked like......

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 26, 2016
  3. KCwelder

    KCwelder Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    It's interesting that you should post this. I just learned about amaranth from a co-worker about a week ago.
     
  4. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    and even more interesting that Bear and I were talking seeds on the phone tonight. Fate favors the bold
     
  5. ChemicalGal

    ChemicalGal Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    I'm glad you see value in it.
    It's forgiving on growing requirements, doesn't look like a food source and produces about a pound of seed per plant.
    Works as human and animal food.
    Can be stored up to 10 years in a bag.

    I am putting in a 60 ft x 38 ft space with corn, amaranth and sunflowers and pumpkins. I have another 60x38 for regular veggies & herbs

    Will let you know in the fall how it worked out.
    cg
     
  6. ChemicalGal

    ChemicalGal Monkey+++

    Wind Pollinated

    I just remembered another selling point for this seed

    With the bee problem unsolved, this plant is wind pollinated
    so if for the foreseeable future the bees aren't available it would still be pollinated and set
    CG
     
  7. ripsnort

    ripsnort Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    All grains are "wind pollinated" and do not rely on insect pollination. I think large scale monoculture is the only place that honey bee pollination is needed. For small plots, other insects do the job. Honey bees aren't even native, we brought them with us from Europe.
     
  8. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    For small scale stuff, we have some very good native pollinators here in the US. A (bio-dynamic) gardening outfit I worked for at one time relied heavily on Orchard Mason Bees. Also, bumblebees are pretty good workers. Both species can be "encouraged" in an area.
     
  9. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    Yup... I was thinking that as well... don't forget the flowers.... nice colors and fragrances are soothing and welcome nourishment for the mind as well... not to mention the great memories that it nutures of the past and for the future.... Natures beauty is one of those survival attitudes that can help in a difficult mental and emotional time.... JHMO....

    Also back to seeds... I was told by a helpful small farmer that the way you plant your small garden will insure pollination.... forgot but it was something like spacing and rows a certain way to get the wind to flow through and around the plants.... guess I better go read about that.... darn its tough when you get old and the memory fades [LMAO]
     
  10. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    Seeds....Barley, Hops...
     
  11. ripsnort

    ripsnort Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    Yes Clyde, back yon in the Bard's time it was real nourishment.
    Growing flowers in a garden also attracts pollinating insects.
     
  12. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    The leaves can be eaten as well as the seeds. There is more iron in the leaves than spinage. The seeds have 16% protien, and it is an easy plant to grow. The seeds are small but not at all hard to harvest. It can be ground into flour but has no glutin so it has to be mixed with wheat flour to make anything other than a flat bread.

    OGM
     
  13. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    Now that I look a little deeper, this is quite the plant!

    From wikipedia Amaranth - and quinoa are the only two grains that are complete proteins

    Here is about amaranth grain

    Amaranth grain can also be used to extract amaranth oil - a particularly valued pressed seed oil with many commercial uses.


    "As a food oil, amaranth oil has a delicate and agreeable taste. In a study of the cholesterol-lowering properties of amaranth grain and oil in hamsters, report that amaranth oil significantly reduced non-HDL cholesterol and raised HDL cholesterol as well as lowering very low density lipoprotein cholesterol by 21-50%"




    Pretty cool plant.... Thanks CG.
     
  14. drat

    drat Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    another thing is that it looks like a weed. if you did not know what it was you wouldn't thank that it was food. that will help alot if the SHTF.
     
  15. ripsnort

    ripsnort Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    It is a close relative of pigweed.
     
    Fall off the Map likes this.
  16. Gallowglass

    Gallowglass Winter is coming

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    I just ordered online the other day amaranth 'golden giant' seeds (as well as lamb's quarters [pigweed] and watercress seed)

    I do have a couple of questions though, and I would be grateful if anyone here knew the answers:

    -Can amaranth be eaten as sprouts? If so, how long do they take?

    -Chemical Gal says they will keep '10 years in a bag' IIRC. Does this mean airtight and refrigerated or frozen? Or will they keep 10 years in a mason jar in the closet?

    I'm also going to grow some chickpeas, which I understand are great as sprouts and I would like to get hold of some quinoa seed.
     
  17. ChemicalGal

    ChemicalGal Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    Gallowglass
    Where I read that they kept them for up to 10 years in a bag was referring to the Native Americans. I have to "assume" it was just a bag, nothing fancy like we have today.

    As far as sprouts, I do believe I read they could be used that way too.
    Unfortunately I have been reading so much on so many things lately that I can't remember where I have found everything.

    Good luck with your garden.
    CG
     
  18. jim

    jim Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    The sprouts can be eaten, just get them before they become fiberous.

    I'm going to plant some wild around here, but I'm betting the deer eat them.
    jim
     
  19. ripsnort

    ripsnort Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    This thread got me interested in amaranth. I've eaten it but not grown it or stored it. I checked numerous sites on food storage but did not find any good info on storing amaranth. None of them give much info and often just repeat each other. The storage times given are very short but there are some claims of longer times. While there are thousands of studies on the viability of seeds of varieties that north americans and europeans rely on - nada on amaranth. I'll keep looking.
     
  20. ripsnort

    ripsnort Monkey+++

    Re: An Ancient Food of Great Value

    Well I found out a lot about amaranth, but no more on how long it stores.
    It sounds great for homestead use. Some of its attributes:
    - because the seeds are so small it only takes a few lbs. to seed and acre.
    - low water requirement - can wilt and recover from a drought.
    - low nitrogen requirement.
    - can be easily hulled by hand and fan cleaned.
    - the green tops are edible and the seeds sprouted.
    - high in protein, lycene and fat.

    The high fat would suggest that it is not a long storing grain. That could be remedied to some extent with low storage temps. and using either nitrogen, dry ice or oxygen absorbers.
    The grain has to be cooked because it contains oxylic acid which uncooked will block calcium absorption. (as I recall oats are the same).
     
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