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Photo: Amaranth 'Red'

General description

Red Amaranth variety grows beautiful red-striped edible leaves for fresh and cooked uses. This is a favorite vegetable in Chinese and Vietnamese stir-fries and the red leaves will color the dish red. Unlike many other greens, such as mustard and spinach, amaranth loves the heat so when your cool weather greens are done heat loving amaranth will keep you well supplied with tasty, highly nutritious greens. The seeds are also edible and are a protein-rich pseudo grain.

Plant requirements

Like all fast growing leafy greens amaranth loves rich soil with steady moisture and a good supply of nutrients, especially nitrogen. But it isn't as fussed as spinach or silverbeet would be. Amaranth is much hardier. It can cope with heat and dry conditions a lot better than any other leafy green. (One more good reason for this lazy gardener to grow it!)

Maintenance

 It is very drought tolerant so water only when dry.

Practical use

Amaranth seeds have a much higher content of the minerals calcium, magnesium, iron and of the amino acid Lysine. Amaranth leaves contain three times the calcium and five times the niacin of spinach leaves. Amaranth seeds are also high in potassium, zinc, Vitamin B and E and can contain over 20% protein.

For greens, harvest before flowers appear. You can harvest the entire plant. For seeds harvest after flowers have turned to seed, by cutting the stalk and letting it cure for a few days in a sunny location. Bring it in at night to avoid moisture. Once dried, shake into a paper bag and filter with a sieve.

Properties

Height
1 cm
Color
Soil type
Sand
Sunlight
Full sun
Moisture
Moist but well-drained
Hardiness
Needs protection