Thursday, August 25, 2011

This is What Amaranth Looks Like

I am just loving going out to the farm every week to pick up my CSA share. While it seems that many CSA’s have set items for their shareholders every week, at the Poughkeepsie Farm Project I (mostly) get to pick what I want to take home.

For me, this has been a veggie-exploration. Each week I find and try something new – brand new to me. This week I was intrigued when I saw amaranth on the board. I am familiar with amaranth as a grain – in fact, it is one of my favorite gluten-free grains for baking (mixed with other grains) – but I had never heard of amaranth as a vegetable.

After a bit of research, I learned that the leaves of the amaranth plant – which are high in protein – are used as cooking greens. Raw, they have a bitter taste (I don’t recommend it for salads). Cooked, they are probably most similar to spinach. I also learned that amaranth is popular in Mexico, and was believed by the Aztecs to have magical properties due to its intense color.

The other advantage of bringing home new things from the farm every week is that it gives me endless opportunities to practice my food photography.
Have you tried amaranth cooking greens? What have you made with them?


Anonymous said...

Well, you learn something everyday. I had no idea what the plant looked like or that it had other uses. Bob introduced me to amaranth grain and flour long before we started eating gluten free because of the protein content, but I had never seen the actual plant.

Jenni @ Monday Morning Coffee said...

That is really cool! Amaranth is one we've used a few times, but I'm still adjusting to the flavor.