It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Saturday Plant Discoveries

I've shared before that I love to go to the Farmers' Market at the historic Pearl Brewery. I picked up 2 things yesterday that are worth sharing here; one is a new discovery and the other something from the past. 

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.
I had already passed by the vendor selling honey when I realized that part of their selection was a very light honey.  I turned around quickly because I knew right away that was huajilla honey (pronounced wa-hee-ya).  I had had an experience with this in my earlier life and I knew some was going home with me! It is delicious!

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!

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