What is amaranth?
Amaranth is a valuable protein culture, containing, in addition, one very interesting trace element – selenium. Selenium is actually a poison. But, like all poisons, over time, useful properties were discovered in it. It turned out that selenium deficiency is no less dangerous than its excess: the work of the pancreas is disrupted, the perception of light by the eye, even myocardial infarction can occur, experts say. Moreover, recently the lack of selenium in our food has been called one of the many causes of cancerous tumors.
In amaranth seeds, there is about 15% protein, and in leaves – almost twice as much. Well, just cow’s milk, and nothing more! Amaranth, according to the All-Russian Institute of Plants, has a diuretic effect. An oil is made from its seeds, which helps with burns. They say it is no worse than sea buckthorn.
It is an annual, reaches a height of 2 meters, the leaves can be green, yellow or red. Amaranth is unpretentious, its care is simple, it is grown even in the Urals. There are three types: vegetable, grain and fodder, but there are types of universal use.
Planting and caring for amaranth
Planting amaranth is usually done by seedlings, sowing seeds in seedling boxes in April. But it is also possible by planting in the ground in May, then, after two weeks, re-sowing is done. Amaranth seeds are very small, so close them shallow. After a week, shoots appear, but since amaranth develops slowly at first, the plants must be freed from weeds, which can easily drown out crops. In the future, he himself will drown out the weeds. As the plants grow, they are thinned out, but the extra ones are not thrown away, but eaten. The optimal interval between plants is 25 cm. Amaranth care comes down to watering, fertilizing, loosening the soil.
How to cook amaranth?
Amaranth is a giant, but for salads, in which tender shoots and leaves go, you do not have to wait for its two-meter height. In summer and autumn, you can cook these salads with a hard-boiled egg, salt and mayonnaise, or with sunflower oil and sour cream. To make the leaves tender, they can be kept in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, and then soup can be boiled in this water.
The stem and fresh leaves picked before flowering can be used in place of kale or spinach. If, when preserving cucumbers, add a third of an amaranth leaf to a liter jar, then the cucumbers will be fresh and elastic until spring.
You can also make cutlets from amaranth: for 200 g of boiled and chopped leaves – 2 eggs, onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 tbsp. tablespoons of grated cheese and wheat flour, black pepper and salt – to taste. Chop the leaves, onion, garlic, mix with the rest of the ingredients. If the mass is thick, add milk. Form cutlets, roll them in breadcrumbs and fry. Serve on the table, sprinkled with lemon juice. Very tasty and healthy.
And from amaranth you get a very fragrant drink, if you add lemon balm or oregano to its fresh or dry brewed leaves.
So those who have acquired this plant will not regret it: amaranth is wonderful, unpretentious and useful. By the way, he also has a relative – a malicious weed, called amaranth.