The popularity of ancient cereals (such as quinoa, tefa and amaranth) is returning again. In the wake of universal interest in proper nutrition, humanity is turning to the roots, looking for a recipe for a long, happy and quality life.
Amaranth came into use later than quinoa, but before tefa. In its pure form, cereal is rarely used. More often grains are processed into flour and sold on the market in processed form. What is cereal and is there any point in wasting money and efforts in its search?
What is amaranth
Amaranth (shiritsa) is a genus of annual plants of the amaranth family. There are more than 100 species of plants that have chosen a warm and temperate climatic zone for growth.
Amaranth is one of the few cultures that have come down to us almost in its original form. Quinoa, teff and amaranth are grown in exactly the same way as a thousand years ago. Ancient cultures did not undergo hybridization or genetic modifications. Due to the relative purity and naturalness of the composition, derivatives of ancient cereals have a high nutritional / energy value, rich in vitamin and nutrient compositions.
Among the 100 varieties of amaranth there are weeds (bluish, thrown back), vegetables (tricolor), ornamental plants (tricolor, caudatus, hypochondriacus) and ancient crops, from which flour (cruentus, caudatus) is produced.
The botanical name was formed from the Greek phrase "unfading flower." Due to the long period of implementation of the cereal, the people nicknamed it "the people's winter friend". Amaranth was often dried for the winter in order to get a boost of energy and vitamins in the cold season.
Amaranth is better known to the Slavic people as the "width". Also among the common names: cat's or fox's tail, velvet, cockscombs, axamite.
In one plant, both branched and simple, even stems can grow. Leaves are lined up, whole, take the form of a regular diamond or egg. The base of the leaf is slightly elongated into the petiole, which gives the amaranth a special shape. The upper edge of the plant is decorated with a small recess with a pronounced tip.
Flowers form in bunches. The upper edge is collected in a dense panicle (very similar to the upper part of the spikelet). The shade of flowers can be as diverse as possible: from muted green to bright red. Later, elongated boxes form from flowers. 1 plant can produce about 500,000 small grains. The weight of the grains, however, is minimal, so the plant can easily withstand a whole armada of amaranth grain without damage and damage.
The weight of 1,000 amaranth grains is 0.4 grams.
Cultural diffusion and ecology
The homeland of Amaranth is considered South Africa. The greatest concentration of culture, the maximum diversity of its forms and varieties is concentrated precisely in African lands. From the usual habitat, the culture was transported to North America, later to India and to other continents. Secondary centers of the plant were China and North India. It was there that the amaranth was able to take root, get used to the local climatic conditions and produce a decent harvest.
The Spaniards brought the plant to Europe. At first, Europeans grew amaranth as an ornamental plant. Its lush long multi-colored branches looked dignified and rich. Therefore, entire amaranth gardens adorned the estates of the aristocracy. In the XVII century, the attitude to the plant was revised, and its grains began to be used for the livestock feed base.
Culture gradually grew and expanded. They began to use it for food, and then tried to select. Many artificial species of amaranth are pollinated. They lost their valuable properties, turned into weeds and destroyed fertile lands. Agronomists decided to leave the culture in its original form, using the maximum share of its natural advantages.
The meaning and application of grain
Amaranth culture is called "Aztec wheat" and "Inca bread." Indeed, at one time amaranth was one of the most important food products, which provided the vital activity of entire peoples. Grains were valued along with legumes and corn, used in pure form, processed into flour and butter. The Spanish conquest of America put an end to the era of amaranth. The culture was temporarily forgotten and almost destroyed.
Several centuries later, amaranth flourished. The plant was used as:
- vegetable crop;
- ornamental plants;
- a drug (most often treated with dried leaves and decoctions);
- spices (dried root and leaves);
- fodder culture (grazing, top dressing, silage);
- food product (flour, butter).
The chemical composition of the grain
|Calorie content||371 kcal|
|Alimentary fiber||6.7 g|
|Pantothenic Acid (B5)||1,457|
|Folic Acid (B9)||0,082|
|Ascorbic acid (C)||4,2|
What you need to know about amaranth flour
This cereal flour is considered one of the most useful products (compared to flaxseed, wheat, buckwheat flour, and so on). The first thing you should pay attention to the adherents of healthy food intake is calorie content. Amaranth flour contains only 298 kcal per 100 grams of product.
The next important point is the composition. Amaranth flour contains a rare element of squalene.
Squalene is a hydrocarbon of natural origin. It belongs to the group of carotenoids. It is a colorless hydrophobic liquid that instantly dissolves in ether and acetone, in ethanol or acetic acid, the decomposition process slows down. Squalene - an intermediate in the biosynthesis of steroids, is involved in the metabolism.
What is the real benefit of squalene? It lowers cholesterol (because it is involved in its synthesis) and has an antioxidant effect on the entire body. As a result, toxins and toxins are more quickly eliminated from the body, a gradual decrease in weight, an improvement in the skin and an increase in the general level of health are noticeable.
The rich composition of amaranth (and, accordingly, its derivatives) is formed due to the special processing of grain. They are ground whole without pre-treatment / soaking or purification. "Untouched" grain contains the maximum concentration of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that automatically turn into flour.
The flour contains such vitamins: A (retinol), D (calciferol), E (tocopherol), B12 (cobalamin), B6 (pyridoxine), C (ascorbic acid), PP (nicotinic acid). Minerals: calcium (K), magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), phosphorus (P), manganese (Mn), sodium (Na).
Another important component of amaranth flour is lysine.
Lysine is an essential aliphatic acid. Included in the composition of proteins, promotes the regeneration of the walls of the mucous membranes and the external skin, stimulates the development of antibodies / hormones / enzymes.
Due to lysine, the protective function of the immune system is strengthened. The body effectively resists pathogenic infections, viruses and bacteria. Moreover, the essential acid normalizes the work of all body systems, is responsible for the normal production of hormones.
Amaranth is an alkalizing product. The component is able to restore the acid-base balance of the body and lead an excessively acidic environment to normal. Otto Warburg (German biochemist, Nobel laureate) said that all diseases develop only in the acidic body. The alkaline organism is automatically insured against the growth and development of pathogenic bacteria, microbes and other microorganisms. Too much acid result from: unsustainable food intake, poor sleep and bad habits. Include a therapeutic course in the complex: flour, cereal and amaranth oil, in order to quickly achieve normalization of the acid-base balance.
Use of the component in cooking
How to use the product
Amaranth flour is characterized by a delicate nut-cereal smell and taste (similar to honey granola from a mixture of cereals).
Amaranth products have a long implementation period. For example, amaranth cinnamon rolls are stale only for 5-7 days of storage.
The scope of use of the product is exactly the same as that of other flour. Due to the nature of the structure, a little more binding elements (eggs, corn starch, cottage cheese, banana) and liquids (water, oil) may be needed to achieve the desired consistency of the dough. Experiment and don't be afraid of minor failures!
Mini popcorn recipe
|Calorie content||413 kcal|
We will need:
- amaranth flour - 250 g;
- vegetable oil (coconut is best) - 1 tablespoon;
- honey / sweetener / nuts / dried fruits to taste;
- vegetable milk to taste.
Heat the pan. Dip a regular cloth in a small amount of oil and wipe the bottom of the pan with it.
Culinary advice: if in your kitchen arsenal there is a non-stick pan, then the ritual with a napkin and oil can not be performed.
Take small portions of flour and throw it in the pan. Vigorously stir the pan until the small grains begin to explode. Carry out similar manipulations with all grains of amaranth. Prepare the bowl, mix the cooked popcorn, vegetable milk / nuts / dried fruits / healthy seeds in it and serve. Such a dish is perfect for a simple, but tasty and nutritious breakfast.
Energy Biscuit Recipe
|Calorie content||249 kcal|
We will need:
- amaranth flour - 50 g;
- chicken egg - 1 pc;
- crushed cinnamon - 10 g;
- whole oatmeal - 150 g;
- vanilla - 10 g;
- dried fruits / nuts to taste - 50 g;
- vegetable milk.
Mix the dry ingredients, then pour the milk into a mass with a thin stream. Stir the mixture thoroughly and leave for 20-25 minutes. After the oatmeal has swollen, continue the cooking process. Beat the egg thoroughly, mix, add nuts / dried fruits and place in silicone / metal baking tins.
Preheat the oven to 190 ° C and bake cookies for about 20 minutes. Cookies are perfect for a quick bite or sweet breakfast addition. Due to the natural and nutritious composition, dessert gives a long-lasting feeling of fullness and does not remain on the sides in the form of hated fat.
Indications and contraindications for use
Amaranth flour is a real salvation for patients with celiac disease.
Celiac disease (or celiac enteropathy) is a disease that consists and is characterized by several factors. Celiac disease occurs due to damage to the villi of the small intestine. Damage is provoked by special food products, which include gluten (gluten) and proteins close to it (avenine / hordein).
The only way to get the necessary rate of high-quality carbohydrates and at least slightly diversify the diet is to use “pure” cereals. The taste of the amaranth product is much sweeter and more tender, and bakery products and desserts turn out to be just as soft, airy and rich, compared to the same wheat flour (which provoked celiac disease).
The main condition is that the flour must be of high quality. Pay attention to the composition, terms of implementation, packaging quality and responsibility of the manufacturer.
Amaranth and its derivatives must be excluded from the diet for individual intolerance and some forms of gastrointestinal pathologies. Some stages and forms of gallstone, urolithiasis, cholecystitis and pancreatitis can be aggravated by ancient cereal. To clearly control the effect of food consumed on the body, you need to undergo examinations with a specialized doctor. The specialist will track the deficit / surplus of certain components, note the willingness of the gastrointestinal tract to assimilate complex carbohydrates in a quality manner and give recommendations on nutrition. At the stage of remission (if analysis and general health allows) amaranth and its derivatives can again be introduced into the diet.