Amaranth’s tiny gold specked grains are extremely nutritious and beneficial for your health. It belongs to one of the forgotten, ancient grains of the past. It has a grassy, slightly peppery and herbal taste to it. It works well in many dishes because of its excellent flavor profile and versatility. It can be used for desserts, bread or pastas as a replacement for wheat or rice. Because its gluten free, it can also be an excellent alternative for people with celiac disease. It has high fiber and protein content which makes it very nutritious to add in baking goods. However, you will have to adjust the water level, because amaranth tends to absorb more water.
You can read more about amaranth’s nutritional qualities here: Amaranth’s nutritional benefits.
[pullquote]You can pop amaranth and eat it as a substitute for popcorn or use the popped grains as toppings for ice creams, smoothies, cakes or cookies. It will lend an excellent crunchy texture.[/pullquote]
How to store amaranth?
Whole seeds can be stored in an airtight container for almost nine months in a cool, dry spot. Amaranth flour can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three months, if frozen it has a shelf life of six months.
Basic amaranth cooking
.1 cup of amaranth will need 2-3 cups of water
.Wash amaranth with a fine sieve.
.Boil water and add the amaranth.
.Cook it covered for 15-20 minutes in simmer.
.When it’s done, the water should be completely absorbed and the grains should be fluffy.
Yes, you can pop amaranth and eat it as a substitute for popcorn or use the popped grains as toppings for ice creams, smoothies, cakes or cookies. It will lend an excellent crunchy texture.
.To pop the amaranth, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of amaranth to a very hot skillet.
.Stir the seeds continuously with a cotton cloth until they pop.
.Once most of the seeds have popped, quickly remove them from the pan to avoid burning them.
Recipes with Amaranth
1. Creamy Porridge (Substitute for oatmeal)
.Combine amaranth and water in a pan
.Bring to boil over medium heat.
.Once it starts boiling, simmer and stir continuously until you’ve reached a consistency you’ve liked.
.Once it reaches the desired consistency, take off the flame and add toppings of your liking.
2. Honey Bread
You will need:
1 cup whole grain amaranth seeds
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp dry yeast
1 Tbsp. honey
1/3 cup water
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. soft butter
.In a medium saucepan mix amaranth seeds, salt and water.
.Bring it to boil, and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.
.Turn off the heat and let the mixture soak.
.In a small bowl of water, stir yeast and honey and set it aside for 15 minutes.
.Mix the flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl, and add the yeast mixture until well combined.
.Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 15 minutes or more.
.Stir in milk and butter into the previously cooked amaranth and add it to the dough.
.Using an electric mixer (dough hook) knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
.Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest until it doubles in volume.
.Preheat the oven to 475°F.
.Make the dough to form a ball and place it on a baking sheet to rest for 10 minutes.
.For decoration, impress the shape of a glass in the middle of the dough ball and cut ridges on the sides of the dough slightly.
.Put the baking sheet on the middle rack in the oven, bake 10 minutes at 475°F, and the rest 35 minutes in 375°F.
You will need:
2 cups freshly ground cornmeal
2 cups freshly ground amaranth
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup dry milk powder
2 cups water
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons clarified butter
.Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
.Place a large cast-iron skillet in oven while oven is heating.
.Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
.Whisk together water, eggs, and oil in a small bowl.
.Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the water mixture.
.Stir until just combined, but don’t over mix it.
.Add the clarified butter to the hot skillet in the oven.
.When the butter has melted completely, pour in the batter.
.Return skillet to oven and bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread is golden brown and cooked through.