FOOD TRENDS: Spotlight on Amaranth

(01 /03 /2017)

It is time to retire the kale and replace the quinoa with one of this year’s hottest health food contenders, Amaranth.

Not necessarily a new addition to the world, it has historical instances where it was used over 6,000 years ago.  Amaranth can be known in different forms – leaf amaranth, grain amaranth or even Chinese spinach.  In the plant world it is commonly referred to by a Shakespeare-esque sounding description, ‘love lies bleeding, for its dark red, hanging flower tassels.  Not so dramatic is its humble origins where it was first used by the Aztecs in Central America.

Its popularity has been reincarnated so to speak amongst health foodies and restaurants alike.   The young leaves and the grain-like seed can be cooked and added to salads, soups, casseroles, stir frys and even desserts.  It can even be ground down and made into flour.  While looking a lot like quinoa in appearance it definitely gives it a run for its money in benefits.

There are added health advantages of Amaranth and the list is impressive.  It is gluten-free, high in iron and has more fibre than wheat. The seeds are tan or light brown in colour and are a similar size to poppy seeds.  Amaranth seed comprises of 15-18% protein and contains lysine and methionine, two essential amino acids that are not frequently found in grains. It also boasts calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C.

Amaranth has been touted as a super-grain, which you will no doubt meet on menus in the future.  Shows that good things can come in small packages.

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