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Amaranth seeds contain unusually good quality protein for a plant source, similar to that of buckwheat and quinoa. It is also a good source of dietary fibre, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. 1/2 cup of amaranth contains 365 calories, 14 grams of protein and 9 grams of fibre.
Amaranth greens, a common leaf vegetable in many temperate regions are a very good source of vitamins A, B6, C, riboflavin, folate, calcium, iron and magnesium. 1 cup of cooked amaranth leaves contain just 28 calories and 0.2 grams of fat.
There are a wide variety of ways to enjoy amaranth, the most popular being boiling; however toasting is also common in some parts of the world.
Boiling: Amaranth seeds are cooked similarly to other grains. One cup of amaranth seeds are cooked in 2.5 cups liquid, such as water or vegetable stock, until seeds are tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. For a slightly thicker, porridge-like consistency, use a greater proportion of water (i.e. ratio of 1:3). Amaranth seeds have a stickier texture than most other grains, therefore extra care should be taken not to overcook it as it can become gummy.
Toasting: Heat amaranth in a heavy, dry skillet over medium heat until the seeds begin to pop. Serve with milk and fresh blueberries as a healthy breakfast, or mix with a touch of honey for a sweet snack.
Amaranth is enjoyed in a variety of ways around the world. In Mexico, amaranth grains are toasted and mixed with honey or molasses to make a treat called alegria, while milled and roasted amaranth seed are used to make a traditional drink known as atole. In Nepal amaranth seeds are eaten in a thin-watery porridge known as sattoo, while Ecuadorians boil the flowers of the amaranth plant and add the vibrant coloured water to rum for a drink that is reputed to "clean the blood" and regulate the menstrual cycle.
Did You Know?
Healthy Ways to Enjoy:
Amaranth, a staple foodstuff originating in South America, continues to gain popularity for its versatility and unusually high protein content. Both the leaves and seeds of this plant are edible and are enjoyed in a variety of ways around the world.
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