AMARANTHACAEU I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this yard with all of these exotic looking plants! & the yard was just filled with dozens of these gigantic stalks with weird red flowers hanging down. I just had to stop and take photos and find out what these were. Isn’t it interesting that Whole Foods sells this grain and that people are eating it now? Next time you buy a product that contains the ingredient of Amaranth, you will think of this plant. & why this home owner would fill her yard with these is a mystery to me!
Amaranth has been cultivated as a grain for 8,000 years. The yield of grain amaranth is comparable to rice or maize. It was a staple food of theAztecs, and was used as an integral part of Aztec religious ceremonies. The cultivation of amaranth was banned by the conquistadores upon their conquest of the Aztec nation. Because the plant has continued to grow as a weed since that time, its genetic base has been largely maintained. Research on grain amaranth began in the US in the 1970s. By the end of the 1970s, a few thousand acres were being cultivated. Much of the grain currently grown is sold in health food shops.
Grain amaranth is also grown as a food crop in limited amounts in Mexico, where it is used to make a candy called alegría (Spanish for happiness) atfestival times. Amaranth species that are still used as a grain are: Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus. The grain is popped and mixed with honey. In North India, it is called “rājgīrā” (राजगीरा). The popped grain is mixed with melted jaggery in proper proportion to make iron and energy rich “laddus,” a popular food provided at the Mid-day Meal Program in municipal schools.