How to cook Amaranth
Although cooked amaranth does not turn out light and fluffy like other grains, it’s a lovely (and useful) pantry item. You’ll mostly see it in stores as the grain, but it is also available in flour form. To cook, simmer ½ cup amaranth to 1 ½ cups liquid for about 25 minutes, until creamy.
How to use Amaranth
One of my favorite things to make with it is a creamy, warm breakfast porridge. Similarly, you can make a savory risotto-like dish with it too. For a healthy snack, pop the tiny grains like you would popcorn. And as more a kitchen “tool,” amaranth is also a great thickener for soups and stews because it has a fair amount of starch. Instructions for popping can be found here.
How to store Amaranth
The grain is best stored in airtight containers in a cool place, up to a year in the freezer or 6 months in the pantry. The flour is best stored in the freezer, up to 6 months. If the grains or flour have a rancid smell when you open the bag, toss and buy fresh.
Types of Amaranth
Similar to quinoa, Amaranth is actually a seed that acts like a grain, with a nutty, slightly earthy flavor. The flavor is mostly mild, which makes it nice for sweet and savory dishes. It is a nutritional powerhouse that continues to grow in popularity, especially as gluten-free diets are being followed more. Beyond the seed, amaranth is also grown for its greens, which are used in many cuisines and can be cooked like other leafy greens. This plant also has a long, fascinating history.
The Flour: I’ve found amaranth flour to have a bit more of an assuming flavor compared to the whole grain. This malty type flavor can work with both sweet and savory dishes but I prefer to use it in combination, never as a standalone flour. Amaranth flour can be a nice addition to gluten-free flour blends that contain oat, millet, or sorghum flour.