Cultivated as a grain for 8,000 years, Amaranth is known in India rajeera- the King’s grain- and by the ancient Aztecs as Huautli, a food that would give them extraordinary strength.
Today Amaranth is making a comeback as a kind of superfood; it’s high in protein (12-17%), calcium (more than spinach), and amino acids like lysine (deficient in most grains). The leaves are high in vitamins A and C, riboflavin, and folic acid.
Amaranth is also gaining popularity as a crop of the future. It’s a very adaptable, drought-tolerant and hearty plant; in fact, most species of Amaranthus are classified as a weed (commonly known as pigweed).
It’s an easy plant for the backyard farmer. Plant after the last frost and it should continue to grow through the summer. The seeds can be used sprinkled on salads or cereals or even popped as popcorn. Once milled, it can be used as any other flour: to make gluten-free bread, cereal, cookies, etc.
In this video, we talk to one backyard farmer about the amaranth growing all over her yard.