Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Amaranth, celosia, and musings about greens

Winter break in the Caribbean last year introduced me to leafy amaranth, a totally delicious cooked green. 

Red amaranth (from Evergreen Seeds)
The woman I bought it from (she had a small garden near our cottage in Dominica) called it spinach, but it's actually Amaranthus viridis, a leafy vegetable that's grown throughout the Caribbean and called callalo. It's a popular Asian vegetable, too.

I posted about it after returning -- it was such a remarkably tasty warm season spinach-like vegetable, I couldn't believe it wasn't more popular here in the Southeastern U.S.  I tried to grow it this summer, but was thwarted by hungry critters, who yummed up the young seedlings. Presumably woodchucks or squirrels.

Celosia argentea
But I was noticing the volunteer plants in the Children's Garden that looked remarkably similar.  They're Celosia, a large-plumed variety that's self-seeded abundantly for the last couple of years.

And sure enough, they're a relative of amaranth (in the same family), and have been used in a similar way in parts of Africa, and elsewhere, too. 

Interesting!  I'll have to harvest some young plants tomorrow for a second trial. 

The older larger leaves that I cooked as a trial for lunch today were good, but it was hard to evaluate their taste, as I'd stir-fried them in sesame oil!  They were quite tender, though, so promising.

1 comment:

Please share your thoughts. I enjoy hearing from fellow nature observers, as well as whomever else drops by.

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