Several weeks ago I had stopped at one of the vendors that has herbs and leafy things. I knew it was late in the season for spinach, but I asked anyway if they had some. The young girl replied that they didn't have spinach, but they had amaranth and pointed it out. She quickly handed me a leaf and said to try it. It was very flavorful, so I brought home a bunch.
It was good in sandwiches and salads, but I didn't really care for it sautéed like spinach. I felt it had a different consistency and flavor than spinach raw or cooked, but I liked it. So, yesterday when I passed their booth I got some more. This bunch had a few bug holes, but still is very flavorful. I'm glad I discovered it and will be watching for it again.
Here are a few quick facts that I've found so far:
- Amaranth is a widely varied plant and is cultivated as a leafy vegetable and as a grain although it is not a true grain. Latin name Amaranthaceae.
- It is high in calcium, magnesium, and iron.
- It was known to be cultivated by the Aztecs, but forbidden by the Spaniards.
- It is a relative of beets, spinach, Swiss Chard, and quinoa.
Huajilla is also referred to as guajilla, guajillo, and huajillo and from my brief research I determined that there are several species of plants. I believe the one common to South Texas is A.berlandieri which is a member of the Acacia family. The flowers are very fragrant and, if I recall correctly, the plants have wicked thorns!
There is a picture of huajilla flowers as known in South Texas on the Gretchen Bee Ranch web site. They also sell all their honey products on their site! I brought this bottle home and, of course enjoyed biscuits and honey for my Sunday breakfast!
|And, yes those biscuits came out of a can. I can't make a decent biscuit!|