Carrie’s CSA adventures with Amaranth and Wheat berries

July 2nd’s CSA basket from Prairie Gardens contained: Amaranth Red Root Bunch, Lambsquarters (Fat Hen), Rhubarb, Edible Flowers, Oregano, Tea Mix (Pineapple Mint, Sage, Stevia), Oxalis, Multiplier Onions and Wheat Berries.

This week I had success in creating something new for the family and I also had some hiccups. Let’s start with the items that didn’t go as planned.

Transplanting onions

I planted some of the multiplier onions in my vegetable garden. Watered them. Everyday. Until the 3rd day, I noticed that the green tops were drying out. Hmm. The fourth day, the outside skins were dried out on the bulb portion. I pulled them out and brought them in the house for cooking. What I hadn’t realized was that I needed to trim the green tops, so that the energy that the onion was putting into growing was being focused on the roots of the plant so that it could get established. An unsuccessful attempt at transplanting onions. Maybe the heat had something to do with it, too. 😉

How to cook with amaranth

I was hoping that I could have done a whole post about amaranth, but amaranth greens have not gone over well in this household. After making a beautiful salad with amaranth and edible flowers and such, I was told to leave that plant in the garden! (Hopefully, it has gone over better in your family than mine). The texture and flavour were overwhelming in bitterness. Which is unfortunate because there seems to be so much you can do with it.

I have a few recipes pinned on my A spoonful of local Pinterest page for you to check out. You can substitute spinach, amaranth or fat hen with each other.

Amaranth around the world

Amaranth greens seem to be very popular in the United Kingdom, Asia and in the Caribbean – I have come across recipes for soups to stir-frys for this green. It can be eaten raw, but we found it to have an extremely bitter taste, as per above. It can be braised with butter and onion/garlic. You can boil and steam these as well. A re-occuring theme with amaranth which surprised me was coconut as a pairing. Try this recipe for Callaloo (Caribbean Green Soup) by The Domestic Man. And check out more on amaranth greens at grist.org.

Simple wheat berry salad

My success of the week was Wheat berries! The only time I’ve had wheat berries was in a cream wheat salad that my grandmother would make for special occasions. So these really were something new for us. The berries went over really well.

I made the really simple recipe that Tam supplied us. I roasted the wheat berries in the oven. The smell of roasting the berries filled the house with a woody, nut aroma. It was such a comforting aroma. Then I proceeded to boil and simmer them. I actually only ended up cooking them for 35 minutes. Drained and cooled the berries. Tossed them in some olive oil, cut up some onion greens, added some salt and pepper and voila! Wheat Berry Salad!

It was a little short on impactful flavour (though still quite enjoyable) but the next day I added some balsamic vinaigrette and mixed it up. That brought the salad up another notch. By using this recipe as a base and then adding fruits, vegetables, greens, seasoning or sauces, you could create endless possibilities. I have an Asian inspired salad pinned by Daring Gourmet, as well as several other ideas.

Happy cooking! Carrie

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