Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Amaranth grains




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cbmare
03-12-2008, 02:28 AM
Do you eat it? What do I do with them?


Leenie
03-15-2008, 10:18 AM
I had to look this up.... here's what I found.

Amaranth can be cooked as a cereal, ground into flour, popped like popcorn, sprouted, or toasted. The seeds can be cooked with other whole grains, added to stir-fry or to soups and stews as a nutrient dense thickening agent.

Amaranth flour is used in making pastas and baked goods. It must be mixed with other flours for baking yeast breads, as it contains no gluten. One part amaranth flour to 3-4 parts wheat or other grain flours may be used. In the preparation of flatbreads, pancakes and pastas, 100% amaranth flour can be used. Sprouting the seeds will increase the level of some of the nutrients and the sprouts can be used on sandwiches and in salads, or just to munch on.

To cook amaranth boil 1 cup seeds in 2-1/2 cups liquid such as water or half water and half stock or apple juice until seeds are tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Adding some fresh herbs or ginger root to the cooking liquid can add interesting flavors or mix with beans for a main dish. For a breakfast cereal increase the cooking liquid to 3 cups and sweeten with Stevia, honey or brown rice syrup and add raisins, dried fruit, allspice and some nuts.

Amaranth has a "sticky" texture that contrasts with the fluffier texture of most grains and care should be taken not to overcook it as it can become "gummy." Amaranth flavor is mild, sweet, nutty, and malt like, with a variance in flavor according to the variety being used.

Amaranth keeps best if stored in a tightly sealed container, such as a glass jar, in the refrigerator. This will protect the fatty acids it contains from becoming rancid. The seeds should be used within 3 to 6 months.

The leaves of the amaranth plant taste much like spinach and are used in the same manner that spinach is used. They are best if consumed when the plant is young and tender.

Amaranth seed is high in protein (15-18%) and contains respectable amounts of lysine and methionine, two essential amino acids that are not frequently found in grains. It is high in fiber and contains calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C.

The fiber content of amaranth is three times that of wheat and its iron content, five times more than wheat. It contains two times more calcium than milk. Using amaranth in combination with wheat, corn or brown rice results in a complete protein as high in food value as fish, red meat or poultry.

Amaranth also contains tocotrienols (a form of vitamin E) which have cholesterol-lowering activity in humans. Cooked amaranth is 90% digestible and because of this ease of digestion, it has traditionally been given to those recovering from an illness or ending a fasting period. Amaranth consists of 6-10% oil, which is found mostly within the germ. The oil is predominantly unsaturated and is high in linoleic acid, which is important in human nutrition.

The amaranth seeds have a unique quality in that the nutrients are concentrated in a natural "nutrient ring" that surrounds the center, which is the starch section. For this reason the nutrients are protected during processing. The amaranth leaf is nutritious as well containing higher calcium, iron, and phosphorus levels than spinach.

They have whole grain books you can buy.... here's some recipes.

Amaranth with Spinach Tomato Mushroom Sauce
1 cup amaranth seed
2-12 cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch spinach (or young amaranth leaves if available)
2 ripe tomatoes, skinned and coarsely chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1-1/2 teaspoons basil
1-1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 clove of garlic minced
1 Tablespoon onion, minced
Sea salt and pepper to taste (or use a salt substitute)

Add amaranth to boiling water, bring back to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes.

While amaranth is cooking, stem and wash spinach, then simmer until tender. Dip tomatoes into boiling water to loosen skin, then peel and chop. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and add garlic an onion. Sauté approximately 2 minutes. Add tomato, mushrooms, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and 1 Tablespoon of water. Drain and chop spinach and add to tomato mixture. Cook an addition 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lightly mash tomato as it is cooking.

Stir the sauce into the amaranth or spoon it on top.

Amaranth "Grits"
1 cup amaranth
1 clove garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups water or vegetable stock
Sea salt or soy sauce to taste
Hot sauce to taste
Garnish: 2 plum tomatoes

Combine the amaranth, garlic, onion, and stock in a 2-quart saucepan. Boil; reduce heat and simmer covered until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Stir well. If the mixture is too thin or the amaranth not quite tender (it should be crunchy, but not gritty hard), boil gently while stirring constantly until thickened, about 30 seconds. Add salt or soy sauce to taste.

Stir in a few drops of hot sauce, if desired, and garnish with chopped tomatoes.

cbmare
03-16-2008, 12:29 PM
WOW! Thank you so very much, Leenie. That was quite a bit of information. I'm going to try the grits version first. I've never seen the leaves or sprouts, only the grain (looks like grits).


nanj
03-16-2008, 02:10 PM
Hey Leenie, I ordered some amarantha flour from the co-op and it should come in this week. I've found a amarantha bread that I can't wait to try. Thanks for all the info. I hadn't thought to use it other than the grain.