Amaranth: The Beautiful Late Blooming Flower

What the heck is Amaranth anyway?  Amaranth is a summer and autumn blooming flower.  They come in all colours.  While some types of Amaranth are viewed as weeds, a lot of types of this flower can be eaten in numerous ways.  They can be consumed as a leafy vegetable and also as a cereal plant.  The word Amaranth is of Greek origin.  It comes from the words “amaranos” and “anthos”  which mean “unfading” and “flower” respectively.  You will occasionally see the flower referred to as amaranth in older texts.

Now that we know what it is, what is so special about it?  The seeds of Amaranth has been used as a cereal grain in the Mesoamerica for centuries!  To this day it is not uncommon to see sugar skulls made from Amaranth seeds held together by honey or another syrup.  It is gluten-free and the flour that can be made from it makes a great substitute for other flours.  In Asia it is also used in various foods because of how easy it is to harvest and how high in protein it is.  In the States, the Hopi use the flowers to make a beautiful dark red dye that is used for various things.  Back to the Greek for this last little thing about Amaranth.  This particular flower was considered to be sacred to Artemis.  They used it to decorate the tombs of the dead because it was said to represent immortality and it was also placed around the beds of the sick since it also was said to posses special properties in the healing arts.

 

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