Amaranth is nature’s hidden miracle.
Amaranth is a pseudocereal, a seed whose nutrition profile and usages resemble that of cereal grains. It belongs to the chenopodiaceae family (salicornia, spinach, pigweed, beets) rather than the poaceae or grass family (rye, rice, oats, wheat, spelt…).
“The Little Seed of the Incas”
The word amaranth comes from ancient Greek “Amaranthus” which means “immortal” or “which does not wither.” Called the “Little Seed of the Incas,” amaranth is one of the oldest seeds in America, cultivated for centuries by pre-Columbian Aztec and Inca civilizations in Mexico and Central America. Amaranth is highly nutritious. It contains an average of 15% protein, provides a wide range of essential amino acids and vitamins such as B6, B9 and B5. It is an excellent source of lysine, magnesium, lecithin, phosphorus, manganese. It also contains mucilage fibre which stimulates intestinal function.
To optimize assimilation of its iron content, it is recommended to add a vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable to the recipe. As it is also an excellent source of fibre: a 100g serving of amaranth provides 15g of our daily fibre intake. This is an impressive number considering the recommended daily fibre intake is 38 g for men and 25 g for women.
A taste of natural sweetness
Incorporating some amaranth into gluten-free flour blends gives pastries a pleasantly nutty flavour. It also adds softness and sweetness.
In Mexico, amaranth seeds are puffed like popcorn. Honey is then added to make small sweets shaped like skulls, used as presents during the Day of the Dead, a famous traditional festival.
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