Scientific Name:Amaranthus hypochondriacus Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus
About this Herb:Originally from Mexico, this annual herb is cultivated as an ornamental plant, a food source, and now grows wild in the central United States. Amaranthus has close to 70 species; we will be discussing three, the Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. The stalks and leaves of this plant are deeply pigmented, leaves are lance shaped and hypochondriacus leaves are purple underneath. Its tuft like flowers range in color from green to a dark purple and appear in dense clusters from August until the first frost. The seeds produced by this plant range in color from buff to a dark purple and are used like a grain, in fact they are considered a “pseudograin” with the flavor, appearance and cooking attributes of a grain. Amaranth seed can be eaten as a cereal or graound into flour. It is gluten free and for a plant as exceptionally high amount of protein.
Common Names:Floramor, Flower Gentle, Flower Velour, Lady Bleeding, Lovely Bleeding, Love Lies Bleeding, Prince's Feather, Red Cockscomb, Spleen, Velvet Flower
Uses:Amaranthus cruentus is cultivated and consumed as a leaf vegetable as well as a grain. Amaranth greens cooked and eaten is said to enhance eyesight and build red blood cells.
Amaranthus hypochondriacus Amaranthus caudatus and Amaranthus cruentus seeds are a healthy high protein gluten free choice. As a seed or oil Amaranth is beneficial to those with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Used regularly it reduces blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. It is an antioxidant and helps to strengthen the immune system. Seeds are a great source of fiber, iron and magnesium. The flowers when rubbed produce a red dye.
Applications:Eating: Amaranth grains can be toasted in a covered saucepan with a small amount of oil and mixed with honey, molasses, or chocolate. Seeds do not need to be cooked. Throw some in with your favorite cereal or trail mix.
Eating: Amaranth leaves (Amaranthus cruentus), can be used for cooking and in salads. It has a slightly sweet taste that is delicious. The leaves and stems can be used in soups or stir fries. Leaves can be steamed with red peppers and cumin. Leaves can be used just like spinach.