Amaranthus: characteristics and cultivation
The amaranthus is a flowering plant belonging to the Amaranthaceae family, which has more than 2000 different species to form (shrubs, herbs and creepers) and color. The main feature of this plant is the flower, which stands between the leaves, in the classic crimson. The amaranthus grows in tropical countries but easily adapts well to colder and continental climates. This plant is used mostly in the kitchen the times of the Aztecs and today is returning on the tables of our kitchens for its protein properties.
History and characteristics of Amaranthus
The Amaranthus is a plant that grows mainly spontaneous mostly in Latin America. it is precisely in America that we have the first evidence of its use: Aztecs and Incas used it as an energy food, but above all to make magic and religious rituals. Greeks and Romans also, in history, have made much of this shrub that was considered a sacred plant, a symbol of immortality, auspicious and used to honor the dead. Amaranth is a very hardy plant has always grown spontaneously, but in recent decades has been introduced as a genuine cultivation. Its leaves are edible and the seeds, which can be found in ‘central inflorescence in small capsules attached to purple flowers.
Metods of cultivations
The Amaranthus is one of the new millennium vegetables. Grows easily in any terrain and even in harsh weather conditions, it does not need special care and is not easily attacked by diseases and parasites. The seeds are planted in the ground in April and May, after preparing the soil with a digging deep and one layer of organic fertilizer. They are positioned at 15 cm distance from each other, and finally covered watered. Being a type of weed plant, it grows very quickly and need little water and little fertilizer. The edible leaves can be harvested as early as June and until October. To enjoy them in the kitchen can be boiled like spinach or sauté. As of August you can collect the seeds, to be used for new plantings or to eat as a common cereal, high in protein and fiber, gluten-free and calcium, magnesium and iron.
Curiosity about amaranthus
Since ancient amaranth is seen as a strong plant, strong and tenacious as well as sacred. In the language of flowers is tied to the pure and lasting feelings over time, friendship and esteem. For this is given to communicate strength and stability in relationships, respect and esteem in a person. It can be fitted into the wedding bouquets to witness the enduring bond that is being created. In the kitchen the Amaranthus has several beneficial properties. May be substituted for animal protein, it promotes proper gastro-intestinal operation because it is rich in fiber and helps to control cholesterol levels due to the high presence of phytosterols. The amaranth seeds can also be enjoyed by the children: cooking them in a pan turn it into popcorn.