How To Cook Amaranth
Article by Musarrat Sheikh
The amaranth is a very highly nutritious plant which has been around for centuries. This plant was actually a staple back in the days of pre-Columbian Aztecs. Some people even believed that this plant had powers and was always present in all their religious ceremonies and this is one of the reasons that this plant almost went extinct. During these days the seed of amaranth was grinded and added with honey or even human blood in order for it to be eaten during the ceremonies. They used to be shaped into idols before they were eaten and this led to the amaranth’s association to the human sacrifices to be banned.
For example Spain has banned the growth or consumption of amaranth although some people continued to cultivate them in the Andes as well as the Mexico regions. Amaranth can be found in the everyday guide of several countries such as Peru where it is used to brew beer. The flowers of the amaranth plant can also be used to treat fever as well as toothaches. Amaranth is also a great food that you can use to color maize and quinoa. Amaranth can also be used for face painting. There are several ways of cooking amaranth. This plant was used differently in various countries and one of these is Spain where the ban of the plant did stop some people in cultivating them and this was mainly in the Andes and in Mexico. Amaranth is found in the everyday guide of several countries including Peru where its seeds are used for brewing beer. The amaranths flowers are also used to treat several diseases and ailments such as toothaches and fever. Amaranth can also be used to color other foods such as quinoa and maize. It can also be used for face painting. You can use one of the various methods available of preparing amaranth.
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The basic steps of preparing amaranth will need to be followed to the latter. It is important for people to be familiar with how to cook amaranth and this will require you to be in possession of several things and this will include a saucepan, 1 ? cups of water for every ? cup of amaranth as well as salt to taste. The water and the amaranth should be put in the saucepan and wait until the water boils. The next step will be to add salt to taste and then reduce the heat, which will then be followed by simmering which should take about half an hour. The saucepan should then be covered and cooked in low heat.
After all the water has been absorbed you should then turn off the heat and let them cool before serving them. You can add more salt if you need to at this stage as well. You can also choose to mix your amaranth with other tiny grains and here you can use teff as well as quinoa. You should make sure you cook these grains separately and be sure to follow the instructions in their specific packages. When you choose to use quinoa you should ensure they are rinsed thoroughly before you start cooking.
Amaranth is sold in various health food stores and in most cases it is cooked as a replacement for rice, pasta, quinoa as well as couscous. Amaranth is smaller than quinoa but still contains twice as much calcium as cows milk and also has 3 times more fiber than wheat. Amaranth is also high in protein and it is much easier to digest than animal proteins. Amaranth also contains healthy fatty acids and this will require them to be stored in tightly sealed containers such as glass jars in refrigerators. Amaranth can be roasted, sprouted, stir fried, used as flour, make porridge, make popcorn stacks among various other uses.
This article touched the basics of the topic. I have 2 more resources related to the above. They are how to cook amaranth and at my blog at Everyday Guide. Do consider reading them.
Amaranth Poster, Nairobi
Image by TheFutureIsUnwritten Amaranth advertising. Nairobi
Image by Eugenia Loli-Queru Amaranth ("vleeta") from my own garden.