Botanical name: Amaranthus cruentus 'Hot Biscuits' Family: Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family)
Synonyms: Amaranthus paniculatus
Hot Biscuits Amaranth is a tall annual herb topped with clusters of ginger or cinnamon colored flowers. The plant can grow up to 2 m (6 ft) in height, and blooms in summer to fall. It is believed to have originated from Amaranthus hybridus, with which it shares many morphological features. This species was in use as a food source in Central America as early as 4000 BC. The plant is usually green in color, but a purple variant was once grown for use in Inca rituals. The plant is grown as a garden flower, and is good as a cut-flower. The seeds are eaten as a cereal grain. They are black in the wild plant, and white in the domesticated form. They are ground into flour, popped like popcorn, cooked into a porridge, and made into a confectionery called alegría. The leaves can be cooked like spinach, and the seeds can be germinated into nutritious sprouts. While A. cruentus is no longer a staple food, it is still grown and sold as a health food.
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