Amaranth, like Quinoa, is referred to as a grain, because of its taste and the way we cook it as a grain, but it is actually a seed. Amaranth is a highly nutritious grain, and is unusual in that it offers a complete form of vegetable protein. It is also a great source of dietary fiber, calcium and minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. Amaranth is a good source of all essential amino acids, in particular lysine, and has a strengthening, toning effect on the body. A gluten free food, amaranth is also easily digested, making it especially useful for very active people, vegetarians, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Amaranth is often sold popped as an instant breakfast food, or ground into a highly nutritious, gluten free flour. (Amaranth has 8x more iron than wheat)
Amaranth can be cooked in the same way as rice, or in combination with rice. This is a good way to try amaranth, if you've not eaten it before. Amaranth can also be sprouted, in the same way as alfalfa or other seeds. To obtain optimum nutrients from this grain, it is recommended that amaranth be soaked for 8 -10 hours.
Cooked Amaranth has a sticky texture that is quite different to the more fluffy texture of most grains we are familiar with. Care should be taken to ensure it is not overcooked, as it can become gummy. The flavour is mild, sweet and nutty, with quite a malty taste. It is a good food to cook for breakfast, and may be soaked and/or cooked in apple juice for variety, and sweetened to taste. It is also delicious in savoury dishes.
As it is a fairly delicate grain, amaranth keeps best if stored in a tightly sealed container, such as a glass jar, in the refrigerator after purchase. This will protect the fatty acids from turning rancid. It is best to use amaranth within 3-6 months of purchase.
Amaranth: Use 1 Cup of grain to 1 3/4 cups of water. Cook covered for 20 minutes on a low heat.
Amaranth and Brown Rice: 1/3 cup Amaranth, 2/3 cup brown rice, 2 cups water. Cook covered for 30-45 minutes on a low heat.
Olive Green Organics - Amaranth Grain is grown and packed in Bolivia, by Irupana, a highly ethical enterprise that assists farmers to produce a high quality organic crop. The farmers are encouraged to keep a portion of their crop so they can improve their families nutrition, and these sustainable practices encourage less dependence on welfare and coca growing.