* * * DELICIOUS TECHNICOLOR FOOD. * * * * * AMARANTH! * * If our weobegone planet ever has a really dark day, inflation, endless war, plague, economic recession, outright depression, civil rioting, famine, food trucks being hijacked at city limits, you want a plant that gives easily grows in your yard and which gives you nutritious food --in abundance,-- without needing sprays. A plant which grows easily anywhere.
 Read the page by CHET DAY, FARMER

That high protein grain Chet talks about is amaranth. Red when it's flowering, WHITE like any grain when threshed.  IT tastes like popcorn or basmati rice and if you simmer up a pot, cooking it like rice, you will fill your belly with health and love the taste of it and have to shut your windows so your starving neighbors can't smell it's nutty fragrance.

Pound for pound, amaranth gives you more actual cluck for the buck and grain for your space than any other popular grain that humans eat. It did wonderfully for the lady who posted this information below, and she's in New England, and it's great toasted or popped, and she says all her livestock loves it. Huge heads full of grain! She cooks it in casseroles, chucks the chickens the heads, don't bother to thresh them, they never need to be hulled. Great stuff. And the burgundy variety is really beautiful.

The Mexicans pop it, then pour hard crack brown sugar syrup on it, with pepitas, nuts, and when it sets they sell it as candybars. Wrapped in plastic. You could make a living with AZTEC DULCE!

"While we were harvesting it - armload after armload of big feathery stalks - my housemate came up and said, "Wow! This IS sacred grain!" Got a little confused between grain amaranth and seed amaranth. Seeds of Change offers several varieties. BUT THEY ARE EXPENSIVE

ANOTHER SOURCE:

Amaranth: Hot 'new' plant was sacred to the Aztecs
By Lee Reich, Associated Press
05-20-2006

For the hottest new plant on the block, grow amaranth. This plant offers
edible leaves that rival spinach, a nutritious grain, and leaves and
flowers in splashy colors.

As is so often the case, "new" is really just "old" rediscovered.

Amaranth was a sacred plant to the Aztecs, domesticated thousands of
years ago.

You probably already know about two or three of the amaranths.

Love-lies-bleeding is a large, annual plant grown for its magenta
flowers. The tiny flowers cluster from the ends of the stems like velvet
bellpulls.

If you don't know love-lies-bleeding, perhaps you know Joseph's coat,
another amaranth of the flower garden. This amaranth actually has sedate
flowers - it is the leaves that glow in shades of scarlet, gold, and
green.

If you garden at all, there is one amaranth that you surely know:
pigweed. This is a common weed of vegetable gardens because it likes the
same rich soils enjoyed by vegetables. Pigweed, as well as
love-lies-bleeding and Joseph's coat, have all been used for food. With
almost 20 percent protein that is rich in lysine, amaranth seeds are
more nutritious than those of most other grains.

Eat the seeds by popping them or grinding them into flour. The seeds
start to scatter as they ripen, so it's best to cut off the seed heads
before thoroughly dry. Then dry them and knock off the seeds in a paper
bag.

Amaranth leaves also are nutritious, being especially rich in calcium,
iron, and vitamins A and C. Species grown for their showy flowers or
leaves, or for their grain, have been grown as summer "spinach,"
sometimes called tampala or Chinese spinach.

All amaranths are tough plants, unfazed by heat, drought or pests. They
don't tolerate cold, though, being Mexican so  start indoors or else sow
directly outdoors about the same time you would sow beans or corn.

For eating, plant in rows about 8 inches apart, then thin the plants to
8inches apart within the rows if you want grain, or 2 inches apart if
you want the leaves.

You can start eating the leaves about a month after planting.

In the flower garden, clusters of one to three plants are sufficient to
make a bold statement.

No single species or variety of amaranth - and there are several - is
going to give you the most colorful and tastiest leaves, the showiest
flowers, and the largest yield of grain.

So plant a variety of amaranth according to which of this plant's many
qualities appeals to you the most.

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Try Bountiful Gardens (bountiful@zapcom.net) variety: Golden Giant amaranth; and Abundant Life Seeds (P.O.Box 772 Port Townsend WA 98368) Yeah! These guys are both cheaper than Seeds of Change and are both organic. Varieties: Burgundy amaranth, Mercado amaranth, and Popping amaranth. Each packet plants about a 20-foot row, so that's 80 feet of the delicious, nutritive food of the Brave Aztecs.

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