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Common names: Green Amaranth, Slender Amaranth
Taxonomic name: Amaranthus viridis
Area of origin: Asia
Green Amaranth (Amaranthus viridus) is a relative of the garden Amaranths, Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) and Saltbushes. It shares their high nutritional level, being rich in calcium, manganese, magnesium, folate and selenium, as well as vitamins A and C.
We can eat both the leaves and the seeds of Green Amaranth, just as we can all its relatives, and at a far lower cost! The 19th Century NSW botanist Joseph Maiden wrote “It is an excellent substitute for spinach… it is sure to be popular, except amongst persons who may consider it beneath their dignity to have anything to do with so common a weed“, but that’s not us is it?
An easy to distinguish plant that grows to about waist high around here. If you know what garden Amaranths (like the beautiful, red, ‘Love Lies Bleeding’) you’ll know what it looks like, just look for a green version.
It’ll cook like Spinach, but the leaves do tend to shrink when cooked, so put extra in your pot! Dry the seeds and have them on your breakfast cereal too – lots of protein and no gluten! In fact, one of the benefits of Green Amaranth over other Amaranths is that the seeds are much easier to harvest as they seem to have a tighter grip in the stem and there’s not so much chaff.
Green Amaranth is a close relative of Goosefoot, which is also listed on these pages.