A favorite in my gardening experience is heirloom Hopi Red Dye Amaranth. I first started growing this green/grain in my garden while seeking high protein greens packed with amino acids for brain health. It has proven a gorgeous addition as it blooms and grows about ten feet tall. In early Spring, it pops up like a carpet of micro ‘maroons’ that are amazingly tender and a colorful addition to simple salads.
There are many benefits of Amaranth as described at expertscolumn.com and it has recently become popular as a gluten free flour. I have been experimenting with many recipes, including a gluten free pie crust for my Amaranth Garden Quiche.
Amaranth is extremely easy to grow here in Central Illinois. While I am glad to forego the extensive effort of harvesting the seeds and crushing them into flour, I gladly welcome the tender baby greens early in the Spring daily for dressing up a salad and enjoy the blooms for cut flower arrangements later in the season. Larger leaves during mid-season can be used in any recipe calling for spinach.
In the fall, I save seeds from the largest blooms and let the rest self seed. It will pop up like crazy all over the garden at the break of Spring, but I don’t mind since I just till under to ammend the soil quite nicely.
Please share your growing experience and recipes here!