Briefly Noted

Briefly Noted: An Amaranth Love Affair

By Jim French

Amaranth is high in protein: Eat them for muscles like Mr. Clean!

When a dear friend gave Sue Click a few Love-Lies-Bleeding plants seven years ago, Sue was thrilled that she finally had this beautiful burgundy-flowered plant in her garden. “My friend was moving and wanted to share her garden and spread it through the community.” Sue reminisces. The plant was drought tolerant, would grow anywhere and provided glorious garden eye candy.

Sue and her husband Dave enjoyed gazing at the spreading plant, a self-seeding annual, for about six years. Then I happened to mention to her that the Love-Lies-Bleeding is also known as amaranth, is edible and is off-the-charts nutritious. As Katrina Blair says in The Wild Wisdom of Weeds,

Amaranth is high in protein: Eat them for muscles like Mr. Clean!

Like many wild plants, amaranth is also flush with other good stuff, too: vitamin c, iron, calcium, manganese and potassium, and it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Seeds attuned to our bioregion are available from Snake River Co-op (available online and at Moonlight Garden Supply and Liberty Heights Fresh). Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds also carries amaranth. They are available in various heights. While they are drought tolerant, they grow more robust when given water and good soil.

Sue and Dave were overjoyed to have discovered this nutty, hearty, healthy plant and now enjoy a big helping at least once a week from July to October. Here’s their homegrown recipe.

  1. Sauté onions until caramelized.
  2. Add diced potatoes.
  3. Add chopped Amaranth leaves.
  4. Poach two eggs on top.

Note: Be sure to cook amaranth to neutralize the oxalic acid in the leaves.

There are close to 70 types of amaranth and all parts of the plant are edible. Once you have it growing, you can ignore it just like Sue and Dave did, but remember to eat it! Jim French tends the Playground Garden in Sugar House.


This article was originally published on February 27, 2018.