Here’s a quick one.
Popped amaranth. I’ve been asked about it by one of my friends.
Amaranth is what is sometimes referred to as a ‘pseudograin’. I think that this means that it is actually a seed with similar characteristics to that of a grain. Quinoa is also a pseudograin for example.
Amaranth does not contain gluten and is easily cooked in a variety of ways. You can cook it like rice with about a 3 to 1 water ratio. You can add it to baked products for additional nutrients. The seeds are tiny and will add a pleasant texture as well. You can sprout them. You can pop them like popcorn, and I believe you can add them to your cereal in the morning.
It’s a very nutritious ingredient, with high levels of important amino acids, “fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and especially manganese.”-(wikipedia.)
When I write of popped amaranth, I’m essentially referring to the process of popping the ‘pseudograin’ like I would corn. I heat one of my frying pans(not iron, something without too much of a sticky surface) to a very hot temperature, prepare a bowl, and get my splatter mesh shield.( Essentially a mesh plate that I put over my frying pan when there is a lot of splattering oil, or in this care “mini-popcorn”.)
I take a spoonful of the amaranth, throw it in the pan, immediately cover it with my mesh and watch with childish delight as the tiny little seeds pop and try to escape the pan. When most of the seeds have been popped, which shouldn’t take more than a few seconds if the pan is hot enough, I take the plan and throw the popped seeds into my bowl, thereby avoiding the burning of it’s newly revealed flesh. When I’ve popped enough, i use it for my recipes and/or keep it refrigerated for future use.(I heard that it’s important to keep refrigerated because of the oil it produces.)
The reason I pop it is to use as a binding ingredient in dishes, snacks that are moist and need a bit of texture. The energy bars I make, for example, which have both fresh pear and gummy dried dates in them, benefit greatly from the popped seeds.
I find the amaranth in most grocery food stores now. It isn’t very expensive and is easy to use and store.
This is picture I found on this wonderful blog post about farming amaranth written by Gary Rondeau. Well worth reading: