Amaranth, prized by the Aztecs and winning more and more fans today, is a unique plant. It attracts with its unique composition, a set of minerals and vitamins, trace element. Due to which amaranth helps in the prevention and treatment of a number of diseases. Including such serious and dangerous ones as diabetes mellitus, varicose veins and some others. It is established that amaranth oil helps to restore the body after chemotherapy.
Worldwide research continues this plant. Scientists are trying to understand how you can more effectively use the potential of amaranth.
Today we offer you another article about amaranth, published on a foreign site. Its author is Emily Siner. She talks about MATTHEW BLAER, a researcher at the University of Tennessee who studies various amaranth varieties growing on the university’s experimental fields. We publish an adapted translation of the article.
Ancient grain for the benefit of mankind
One of the plants that have become popular recently is quinoa. US residents increasingly include quinoa seeds in their diet, giving them preference over traditional wheat and rice.
Researchers at the University of Tennessee are hoping that consumers are ready to try another ancient grain: amaranth.
Amaranth was worshiped by the Aztecs in Mexico. (And other tribes living in Latin America – approx. Per.). Today in the United States of America it is grown mainly in household plots or research farms, for example, in an experimental field at the State University of Tennessee.
Some varieties of amaranth look like corn – with a colorful flower feather on top. Other varieties are more like bushes. Matthew Blair, an associate professor at the State University of Tennessee, leads a team of researchers who monitor dozens of ancient plant varieties.
Amaranth is a grain that grows well at high ambient temperatures. The plant is largely drought tolerant and is considered a healthier crop than corn. The Blair team is trying to grow different varieties of amaranth in order to understand which ones give the best crop options.
“We all know how fast corn grows in summer,” says Blair, “Well, amaranth can also grow fast or even faster.”
From the point of view of the average consumer, amaranth is good in that it is filled with numerous nutrients and does not contain gluten. Raw grain is smooth and white, about half the size of quinoa seed.
“He has a subtle, barely noticeable aroma, but a very pleasant, light nutty taste,” says Blair about amaranth seeds.
In Mexico, amaranth popcorn mixed with honey and served as a sweet treat. Even the amaranth festival is held.
Amaranth cooked seeds are found in some Indian recipes. Tennessee State University researcher LUCAS MACACMIEL, who works with Blair in his project, recalls how he ate wild amaranth leaves during his stay in Kenya.
“They cooked it in a saucepan, added milk, ghee. It was delicious, ”he says. “I still eat such a dish now, if I have the opportunity to cook it. In fact, I took a few leaves from here (from an experimental field – approx. Per.), Took them home and prepared them the way they did in Kenya. ”
But for most Americans, amaranth is still a little-known, incomprehensible product. Most often it is found in specialized health food stores. And it is associated with such food.
In a survey conducted by the Whole-Grain Products Board in 2015, only 15 percent of people reported hearing about amaranth, and only 4 percent of people tried it.
Nevertheless, the defenders of the ancient grains, as they say amaranth, hope to simulate the success of another unexpected star in the food market: quinoa.
KELLY TOUPS, Program Director of the Whole-Grain Products Board, describes a typical path to success: first, they start writing about the product on the Food Network. Popular bloggers publish recipes using amaranth.
“Celebrities are starting to experiment with amaranth seeds,” says Kelly Toops. “Seeds appear in the list of modern food trends. Then other chefs and opinion leaders will start experimenting with them. ”
But there are several additional problems for the success of amaranth. For example, Toops notes that the texture and size of quinoa makes it an easy alternative to rice. Amaranth is not. This is a finer grain.
And unlike many other cultures, amaranth does not yet have a central industry organization (at the time of writing, 2016, approx. Lane) that could promote the plant. According to Blair, most of the amaranth grown in the United States falls on small private household plots, rather than on large farms and agricultural enterprises.
Thus, fans and supporters of amaranth are forced to wait a bit until the plant comes to true popularity. In the end, Vogue recently wrote on its pages that the “new quinoa” is sorghum.
A small addition to the article
We will not evaluate the material of our American colleagues. We only note that in Ukraine a lot of attention is paid to the popularization of amaranth. First of all, this is facilitated by the Association of Manufacturers of Amaranth and Amaranth Products. The leaders and members of the association shouldered a heavy burden, but over the past couple of years they have been able to make amaranth famous in Ukraine. In particular, it was thanks to the Association that the production of amaranth products began – bread, cereals, pasta. Perhaps, if such organizations were created in other countries of the world, Vogue would not write about quinoa and sorghum!