View Full Version : Palmer's Amaranth?

06-28-2010, 01:02 PM
I was out harvesting mesquite beans, when i noticed many other possible foragable plants lining the path.


I was in a hurry (on my way to work), so I didn't have a lot of time to really investigate. I just snapped a pic, and a sample.


For comparison, here are some sample pics from online. Some description say that the stem can be red on older plants:




Anyone know for sure?

06-30-2010, 03:10 PM
I checked them out again, during this morning's harvest, and I'm going to say this is a positive ID for Amaranthus palmeri.



According to the book I'm currently reading (Gathering the Desert, by Gary Paul Nabhan), raw Amaranthus palmeri greens are exceptionally rich in iron, calcium, and niacin, and a good source of riboflavin, and vitamins A and C. No wonder it is often called "the meat of the poor."

You eat the leaves raw, or lightly cooked, for a taste like spinach.

When I got back out, hopefully on Friday, I'll bring a separate container for it, and stock up on leaves for the freezer.

The seeds are also edible. But I'll have to wait until the early Fall for those.

07-01-2010, 09:10 AM
My kids pointed out that they saw on the Disney Channel, something about amaranths being used as foodstuffs in other countries (Disney 365?). They said the seeds on the show were red, like the ones in my yard. I'll have to do some more research on these plants to find proper harvest times, etc.
Thanks for the pics and heads ups! I hope to try some soon!

07-01-2010, 11:00 AM
There are lots and lots of kinds of amaranths.


I think Palmer's is primarily used as a leafy vegetable. I'll have to see how big the grains get, to see if they'd we worth harvesting and processing.

As soon as I get off my lazy butt, and can tolerate the heat bit more, I plan on breaking down the straw bale garden, where I was testing some native crops, since it was a total failure.

In its place I'm putting a miniature version of a Zuni waffle garden. It has sunken squares, better for low-water gardening.


One of the native crops I plan on putting in there is a amaranth. The seeds I bought are for a variety known as Guarijio Grain. It is red, like what your kids saw:



According to the planting instructions, they should be sown with the Summer rains. Judging by the cloying humidity, I'd say the monsoon season is here. I need to get crackin'! :blushing:

07-01-2010, 11:26 AM
IAW edible and medical plants of the west, redroot Amaranth is perhaps the most wide spread and is the easiest to ID lower stem and taproot are red or red striped. Flowers bloom from from the stem tips (terminally), it can grow 60" but generally 24" tall.
Edible: Leaves and stems or boiled like spinach, grains and greens are highly nutritious. Grown in third world counties as a drought-tolerant ally against hunger.

Now dont confuse this with the Russian thistle AKA tumble weed that is also stripped.