Notes from the Farm
As I was digging carrots for the CSA yesterday I was contemplating why our germination results have been so poor this year. I glanced over at the next bed and dominating the sparely populated carrots is a dense crop of pigweed. I remembered my friend Anna gladly harvesting this “weed” when she was visiting last summer. She not only took the leaves, but even harvested some seeds so she could plant them in her garden. I thought she was nuts; sorry Anna. Pigweed is a hardy, competitive plant and will take over if you let it, as it had in my carrot bed. The name pigweed came from farmers having used this crop as pig fodder. This plant is also known as amaranth. The variety we have is Amaranthus retroflexus, a common sight in this area.
If life hands you lemons make lemonade, or something like that. I called Anna to get the scoop. She said in Malawi, where she lived for several years, it is called bonongwe and it is commonly used as a side green. I know I must have eaten it when I visited and I loved all the food she put in front of me, so we tried it last night.
Jury’s in: In a 1-10 rating, 10 being the best and 1 almost inedible Rye gave it a 2, Leon a 7, and I gave it a 9. We are not comparing this to Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream or whatever your biggest indulgence may be, but to other greens, just for the record.
Amaranth is used in many cultures worldwide (Mexico, India, areas of Africa and South America and by Native Americans) as a food staple and for medicinal properties. It is high in Vitamin A, C, calcium and iron.
This Weeks CSA
Amaranth Leaves: Treat as you would any green such as spinach or kale. Amaranth cooks very quickly. Great with eggs, curries, added to soups or as a green side dish. Yummy with tomatoes.
Other items in the box include Sweet Onions, Lettuce Mix, Baby Carrots, Strawberries, Parsley, Red Russian Kale, Red New Potatoes, Cucumber, a couple of Tomatoes, and either a Zucchini or bulb of Garlic.
- 1 bunch of amaranth leaves, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic flakes, crushed
- 3 red chilies
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- salt to taste
- Heat oil in a pan, season with mustard and cumin seeds, red chilies and fry until they splutter.
- Add garlic, turmeric, onions and fry until they are brown.
- Now add the chopped leaves, salt and cook until the leaves are tender.
- Add coriander powder.
- Remove from heat and serve hot with rice.
Source: Recipes Wikia