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Text and Pictures: Ancient Superfood for The Ecologist

Amaranth has been described as one of the world's super foods, and is ingrained in Mexican history, rich in culture and nutritional value.

Although amaranth tastes like a grain and has a nutty, almost malty flavour, it is actually a seed. Likened to quinoa, amaranth is high in protein and amino acids. It is being re-introduced as a staple food to Oaxaca, Mexico, to help tackle malnutrition in the area.

The most commonly found use of amaranth seed is when it has been 'popped' - after which it sells for almost four times the price. In this form it's eaten as a cereal, or combined with honey, (sometimes chocolate), to make bars known as alegria (Spanish for happiness).

I also tried a delicious amaranth cake while in Oaxaca this summer, celebrating the second anniversary of a group of amaranth producers called Red Amarantho. The powdered seed can be mixed into flour and then made into everything from gluten free flat breads to sponge cake.

Or for an alternative form of porridge, simmer un-popped amaranth seeds can be cooked in water for 15 minutes - either on their own or together with your usual oats.

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