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Amaranthus Cruentus, Purple Amaranth - Oeschberg

£0.79

Stunning 1m tall erect purple flower spikes.

This species is cultivated for its edible seed in many parts of S. America and in Japan.

Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position. Requires a hot sheltered position if it is to do well.

Hardy to zone 5. Amaranth accumulates nitrates in its cells when grown non-organically, so it is advisable to grow your own without chemical fertilisers. 

It is also a very efficient plant at capturing carbon and turning it into biomass.

Edible uses

Leaves - cooked as a spinach. The mild-flavoured leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Seed - very small but easy to harvest and very nutritious. They are eaten cooked or ground into a powder and used for making cakes etc. They can also be sprouted and used in salads. The seed can be cooked whole, and becomes very gelatinous like this, but it is rather difficult to crush all of the small seeds in the mouth and thus some of the seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated.

The flowers are used as a food colouring in ceremonial maize bread.

http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Amaranthus_cruentus

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