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Friday, July 16, 2010

Amaranth Overview

Amaranth is a beautiful plant! Take a look at the spectacular blossoms from the amaranth variety 'love lies bleeding' produced during last year's summer crop.

But growing these hearty show-stoppers in your garden may not be your first choice if your goal is enough production to feed your family, but WAIT! Did you know that these plants produce tasty greens you can sauté just like you would spinach? And, from what I've read, the greens don't cook down as much as spinach either. (If you've ever sautéed spinach then you know how unnerving that can be! You never have enough!)

Here are three varieties we are growing this summer at the UC Davis Good Life Garden...

Elephant Head Amaranth

Hopi Red Dye Amaranth

Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth (see photo above with blossoms)

The photo directly above shows how our gardener Arlene is keeping the plants bushy in order for them to produce more greens. Basically she will keep topping the main stalk of the plant. (That white spot in the middle of the photo is the tip of the topped stalk.) This process will slow the plant from sending out the lovely blossoms packed with grain, but at the same time encourages the plant to sprout more of its bushy, tasty leaves.

If you miss sautéeing winter season greens, give amaranth greens a try for the summer and fall!

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