HOPI RED DYE AMARANTH (Amaranthus cruentus) was (and continues to be) used by the Hopi Indians to produce a ceremonial red corn bread. Its amazing red flower heads are prolific and the seed they contain is an awesome food source - high in protein and, for those who are allergic, gluten-free. The deep fuschia leaves are also edible, if picked young, in salads or steamed. In addition to tinting corn bread, you can use the heads to dye any other food (how about Easter eggs) or textiles, baskets and pottery. Grows 4-5 feet high in full sun so place in your edible/ornamental border at the back. When the black seeds are mature simply cut down the heads and thresh over paper to obtain, or leave the plant intact for the birds. If threshing, you can then hang the remainder upside down to dry and preserve for additional use. Makes a gorgeous addition to the vase and everlasting as well. If sown in good soil and full sun will not require staking, but depending on your location that may be desirable. Drought tolerant once established. Grows just about anywhere and will self-sow freely so if you don't want that please deadhead. 50 Seeds.
CULINARY & HEALTH INFO: Amaranth is 18 percent protein and full of Vitamin E, fiber, iron and various amino acids. It is also extremely digestible. So versatile -- the leaves can be eaten like spinach and the seeds like grain for cooked cereal or pop them like popcorn, or roast them or sprout them! The seeds can be used as a "meal" for making traditional dishes, including beverages!.
GROWING TIP: If direct sowing in the decorative border, sow your back row first, following by another and another each week so that you get a terraced or stepped effect.