What is Amaranth?
Amaranth is an ancient plant, once a staple of the Aztec and Inca diet. Also used for ritual purposes in these ancient cultures, its name means ‘unwithering’, and the plant was a symbol of immortality.
The seeds have a mild, nutty flavour. Used as a grain they are gluten-free and a good source of protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin C.
Store the seeds in an airtight container and keep in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
How to Cook Amaranth?
Amaranth is at its most nutritious when cooked.
Bring one part grain to two and a half parts water to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the grain is fluffy. It can then be used as an alternative to rice, pasta or cous cous.
It can also be toasted like popcorn and mixed with honey then left to cool. This makes a sweet and crunchy Mexican treat known as Alegria, meaning ‘joy’. (Try it and you’ll see why!)
It can also be sprouted, added to soups and stews to thicken, or made into porridge by increasing the amount of water to grain.