Amaranth emerges in the hotter weather and grows quickly. It is a rich and nutritious leaf which can be used raw or cooked.
It makes a fantastic sauerkraut when chopped and fermented with beetroots and salt.
The amaranth genus is filled with rapid growing annual plants, the best known of which are the plants that produce relatively large seeds and are distributed and eaten across the world. Ancient amaranth species that are still cultivated for seed today include: Amaranthus caudatus, A. cruentus, and A. hypochondriacus. It is speculated that amaranth has been grown for seed for over 8,000 years.
Amaranth species are generally native to hotter climates but they have managed to find their way into the temperate zones and will grow prolifically providing the warm season is long enough.
For the Native American Tarahumara peoples in the Mexican Sierras, the seedlings of wild amaranths (as well as goosefoots and brassicas), known as Quelites, are a vital food source in the spring to early summer before the cultivated crops are ready. Quelites are cooked by frying some onion and garlic until soft and slightly brown before adding wilted greens and seasoning with chilli; beans or meat can also be added.