We mention Amaranth on our basic growing herbs page because up until our “Eat The Greens” walk with Green Deane we only knew this herb as one that we grew from purchased seeds. The exciting news is that in Florida it grows wild. After seeing this version of Amaranth I realized that I have much of this growing wild in my yard. So again I can save money increase my protein intake and have another green to add to my salad, soups and teas! One tip I learned when finding Amaranth in the wild is to look for terminal seeding.
Amaranth is a great plant with so many benefits. This plant has the terminal seeds that may be used as a protein grain. Unlike the wild cucumber weed this plant has much research and experience you can find in books and on the web. Amaranth also has a lot of written history to be learned about. It is sometimes used to treat toothaches and fevers. Amaranth is high in protein, fiber, amino acids, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins A, C and E. There are many Amaranthspecies so you may see some that look a little different then these pictures. I know I have some with a little red in them and I hear you may use those Amaranth plants as dye. I have also seen Amaranth with a more pointy leave and one that seems to have a little bit of a heart shape at the tip of the leave. Look to Mexico and Peru to learn much about Amaranth history. Amaranth seems to grow well in many different conditions. Even when I didn’t know what Amaranth was and it would grow in every pot I put seeds in and I ripped it out and through it in my fire it stayed green and continued on growing. You can use the grain to make flour and beer. According to the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama at Guatemala, amaranth “is among the highest in nutritive quality of vegetable origin and close to those of animal origin products.”
Here is another picture of what I believe is a type of Amaranth growing in my garden from seeds.
It has been growing almost a year. I often prune it and make tea and soups out of both the grain, leaves and stems.