What Is Amaranth

Does anyone want to talk about amaranth?


I bet crickets love amaranth.

[Sound of crickets leaving]

Anyway, a few weeks ago I got an email newsletter about how amaranth is potentially a hot new health food, or may be at one point in the vaguely near future. Or may never be. Here’s an excerpt:

Amaranth was a staple grain of the pre-Colombian Aztec diet before it was banned upon the arrival of Spanish conquistadors for its use in sometimes bloody rituals.

This crop is gluten-free and nutritious with extremely high values of the essential amino acid lysine (which sets it apart from other grains). Amaranth also contains significantly more calcium, iron, fiber, magnesium, and protein than cereals like oats, rice, sorghum, wheat, and rye.

Once outlawed, this pseudocereal is making a comeback in its native Mexico, long after Science magazine described amaranth as “the crop of the future” in 1977.

The email then went on to promote the site Puente Mexico, at which point it lost me, because I wanted to know more this wonder grain and not so much about the website (although I probably should have stuck around a little longer). Because amaranth sounds archaic and wholesome yet freaky, and hopefully it wouldn’t even taste that good. Like those foods that are fun because they feel like punishment. I feel that way about Bison Grass Vodka.

Anyway, I asked my coworkers about amaranth, and a few answered.

Edith Z.: has anyone ever eaten amaranth
Choire Sicha: lol
Adam Frucci: i dont think i have
Alex Balk: I’ve been eating a lot of freekeh lately if that helps
Edith Z.: not quite, but that stuff is really good
Choire Sicha: i don’t even know what these things are
Alex Balk: freekeh is the new quinoa!

Which brought me to the amaranth Wikipedia page, which seemed a little boring, although that was probably my fault. And then I looked up amaranth recipes on Epicurious, but none stuck out. And then I forgot about it, until today. There’s this “10 Reasons to Use Amaranth” list, too. Has anyone had amaranth? Is anyone named Amaranth? Amaranth on and on about this pseudocereal. It sometimes looks a bit like roe, too, almost.