Amaranth, My #1 Survival Crop - Callaloo Recipe
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Amaranth, My #1 Survival Crop - Callaloo Recipe

This is a discussion on Amaranth, My #1 Survival Crop - Callaloo Recipe within the Gardening forums, part of the Survival Food Procurement category; IMO, the #1 survival crop is amaranth. It is easy to grow, as for some it is a weed (Pigweed, Palmer amaranth). Farmers struggle to ...

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Thread: Amaranth, My #1 Survival Crop - Callaloo Recipe

  1. #1
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    Amaranth, My #1 Survival Crop - Callaloo Recipe

    IMO, the #1 survival crop is amaranth. It is easy to grow, as for some it is a weed (Pigweed, Palmer amaranth). Farmers struggle to get rid of it. It was a staple food item of the Aztecs & Incas. It is a dual use plant, in that you can eat the leaves & young stems, plus each plant can produce up to a pound of nutritious seed that can be ground into flour or made into porridge. It is considered a super food, as it is absolutely loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins & minerals. The plants can grow up to 10' tall. It loves the hot weather and in my garden, I grow it as a summer green. You can use it in most any recipe for spinach or greens.

    But what really makes it shine as a survival food has to do with its reproduction. Each plant can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds. I will say that again... hundreds of thousands of seed. So imagine we are in a SHTF crisis and we needs lots of food fast. What other nutritious plant could produce so much food so fast and which crop could provide enough seed to feed a town within 1 generation? Just one pound of seed contains around a half million seed, so anyone can store this seed for possible use.

    Yes, I grow and store all sorts of garden seed. For me, my go to survival garden crop is the three sisters... a native American way of growing corn, pole beans & winter squash. Sister corn provides support for the sister pole bean. Sister pole bean, being a legume, puts nitrogen back into the soil for the corn to use. Sister squash provides ground cover to control grass/weeds & to hold moisture in the soil. But during a crisis, when so many would be starving, I think it would be smart to provide seed for others to grow their own food. I can't afford to provide corn or other seed for lots of families... but could sure offer amaranth.

    In these pics, you can see amaranth growing in the garden. These plants right now are around 4' tall. In harvesting the leaves, I simply cut the top half of the plant off. I'm testing to verify the plant will put out new growth to replace it... as any weed would. There is a huge amount of leaves that I'm taking from each plant. I then rinse these leaves under running water and pull of the leaves from the stems. In this situation, I will just compost the stems but they are edible too.









    Amaranth is used all around the world. In the far east it is called Chinese spinach. In the Caribbean it is called callaloo. I've had callaloo in Jamaican restaurants so figured I'd try some tonight. First I cooked a few pieces of bacon & set that aside for later. I then sweated down some onion and red bell pepper. Then I added some chopped garlic, some chopped tomato and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Then goes in the chopped amaranth leaves and a bit of chicken broth. Like spinach, the leaves cook way down.









    Last edited by Redneck; 07-03-2020 at 04:47 PM.
    A Watchman, Denton, Slippy and 4 others like this.

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    Sounds like it would be a finicky crop for western Washington. The soil temperature requirement of 70+ degrees for germination is maybe not a deal breaker, but close to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulag1955 View Post
    Sounds like it would be a finicky crop for western Washington. The soil temperature requirement of 70+ degrees for germination is maybe not a deal breaker, but close to it.
    Might be. It is most certainly a heat lover. But where you are, you probably can grow the cool weather greens for a lot longer than most... much longer than me in Mississippi. Most southerners only eat greens in spring & fall. They don't know about amaranth.
    Hemi45 likes this.

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    Redneck, I'd be interested in some seed. Too late to start a crop this year (zone 5) , I guess if we get an early frost? Also, how long is well stored seed viable?

    I have plenty of related weed/plant pigweed. I'll give some of that a try for greens before I turn it under.

    I also harvest a good deal of lambs quarters. Cooked fresh like spinach, or blanched then frozen for storage

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    Making me hungry. Thanks. Sounds lke this stuff might te kin to kudzu. Hard to get rid of once it starts..sorta like Burmese Pythons and Bamboo.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Trapper View Post
    Redneck, I'd be interested in some seed. Too late to start a crop this year (zone 5) , I guess if we get an early frost? Also, how long is well stored seed viable?

    I have plenty of related weed/plant pigweed. I'll give some of that a try for greens before I turn it under.

    I also harvest a good deal of lambs quarters. Cooked fresh like spinach, or blanched then frozen for storage
    Below is where I got my seed. You could probably still get a crop in, as they are fast growers. Even if they didn't get full size & didn't set seeds, you could still eat the plants. My understanding is the seed stays viable for 3-4 years if stored properly. Properly generally means the sum of the storage temp and the storage humidity is less than 100. It is such an integral part of my seed storage that I bring in a pound every year.

    Amaranth is usually divided into two broad categories... seed amaranth and leaf amaranth. Leaf varieties are generally shorter, set large numbers of leaves but smaller seed heads. Seed varieties usually are taller, with less leaves and huge amounts of seed. In either case, you can still eat the leaves and harvest the seed. My tests so far show this to be true. A few years ago I grew a test plot of Golden Giant. They got 9-10 feet tall and the tops were just loaded with hundreds of thousands of seeds. It set plenty of leaves but nothing like this Green Callaloo (Chinese Spinach) I'm growing now. In my situation, since I store & grow corn, I am less interested in the seed for flour. So leaf varieties are what I personally choose to store but I still do keep a small amount of Golden Giant. Thing is, with amaranth, a tiny amount of seed grows a HUGE amount of plants.

    https://www.edenbrothers.com/store/g...nth-seeds.html
    Last edited by Redneck; 07-03-2020 at 06:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigwheel View Post
    Making me hungry. Thanks. Sounds lke this stuff might te kin to kudzu. Hard to get rid of once it starts..sorta like Burmese Pythons and Bamboo.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu
    Now being in Mississippi, I sure know about kudzu. What a worthless, damaging plant. But for farmers, pigweed or Palmers amaranth is a huge threat to their crops. Some varieties have become resistant to Roundup. The characteristics that make it so valuable in a survival situation make it an almost unstoppable weed in row crops. You almost can't kill it and every time you try, it builds up resistance to the herbicide. And if they let it set seed, it takes over the field.

    Another huge advantage in growing amaranth in a survival scenario is that it doesn't look like garden crops... it looks like a weed. If you plant corn, beans, squash, whatever, other folks see what you are growing & you have to protect your crops. With amaranth, you could plant a whole field of it and no one would be the wiser.
    Last edited by Redneck; 07-03-2020 at 07:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck View Post
    Now being in Mississippi, I sure know about kudzu. What a worthless, damaging plant. But for farmers, pigweed or Palmers amaranth is a huge threat to their crops. Some varieties have become resistant to Roundup. The characteristics that make it so valuable in a survival situation make it an almost unstoppable weed in row crops. You almost can't kill it and every time you try, it builds up resistance to the herbicide. And if they let it set seed, it takes over the field.

    Another huge advantage in growing amaranth in a survival scenario is that it doesn't look like row crops... it looks like a weed. If you plant corn, beans, squash, whatever, other folks see what you are growing & you have to protect your crops. With amaranth, you could plant a whole field of it and no one would be the wiser.
    Redneck, now you've got me educating myself about pigweeds...........I don't have the noxious ones you mentioned, just the the common garden weed varieties, smooth and redroot. I know they are edible but have not tried them. They are prolific though if you let them seed.

    Seems the noxious ones are a huge problem as the seed can be transported in many ways. Even animals fed with material containing the seed then transported can poop out the seed. Cornell coop ext. has some good reading on them as they have been found in nearby NY state.

    https://blogs.cornell.edu/weedid/pig...dentification/

    I do eat my other "weed", lambsquarters.
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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck View Post
    IMO, the #1 survival crop is amaranth. It is easy to grow, as for some it is a weed (Pigweed, Palmer amaranth). Farmers struggle to get rid of it. It was a staple food item of the Aztecs & Incas. It is a dual use plant, in that you can eat the leaves & young stems, plus each plant can produce up to a pound of nutritious seed that can be ground into flour or made into porridge. It is considered a super food, as it is absolutely loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins & minerals. The plants can grow up to 10' tall. It loves the hot weather and in my garden, I grow it as a summer green. You can use it in most any recipe for spinach or greens.

    But what really makes it shine as a survival food has to do with its reproduction. Each plant can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds. I will say that again... hundreds of thousands of seed. So imagine we are in a SHTF crisis and we needs lots of food fast. What other nutritious plant could produce so much food so fast and which crop could provide enough seed to feed a town within 1 generation? Just one pound of seed contains around a half million seed, so anyone can store this seed for possible use.

    Yes, I grow and store all sorts of garden seed. For me, my go to survival garden crop is the three sisters... a native American way of growing corn, pole beans & winter squash. Sister corn provides support for the sister pole bean. Sister pole bean, being a legume, puts nitrogen back into the soil for the corn to use. Sister squash provides ground cover to control grass/weeds & to hold moisture in the soil. But during a crisis, when so many would be starving, I think it would be smart to provide seed for others to grow their own food. I can't afford to provide corn or other seed for lots of families... but could sure offer amaranth.

    In these pics, you can see amaranth growing in the garden. These plants right now are around 4' tall. In harvesting the leaves, I simply cut the top half of the plant off. I'm testing to verify the plant will put out new growth to replace it... as any weed would. There is a huge amount of leaves that I'm taking from each plant. I then rinse these leaves under running water and pull of the leaves from the stems. In this situation, I will just compost the stems but they are edible too.









    Amaranth is used all around the world. In the far east it is called Chinese spinach. In the Caribbean it is called callaloo. I've had callaloo in Jamaican restaurants so figured I'd try some tonight. First I cooked a few pieces of bacon & set that aside for later. I then sweated down some onion and red bell pepper. Then I added some chopped garlic, some chopped tomato and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Then goes in the chopped amaranth leaves and a bit of chicken broth. Like spinach, the leaves cook way down.









    Redneck,

    This might be the most valuable survival info that I never knew of!

    Thanks my friend!

    Slip
    Redneck likes this.

  11. #10
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    I remember now, I started a thread about this 4 years ago, I never got around to growing it.

    Redneck had some good pointers.

    https://www.prepperforums.net/forum/...-amaranth.html
    Redneck likes this.

 

 
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