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In Season: Amaranth Greens

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Whether you're a CSA devotee, a farmers' market weekender or consider ketchup a veg, we'll bring you fresh inspiration for how to prepare our local produce.

This week's harvest: Amaranth Greens

Amaranth has come into favor with the healthful properties of the seeds (which can be ground into a high protein flour) and the leaves that we can now find at the markets this summer. This vibrant summer "green" is usually celebrated in the Caribbean where it's called Callaloo (in Jamaica) and in Chinatown where they're added to many a stir-fry. Amaranth Greens are also called Chinese spinach and quelites. The red varieties are quite striking in beauty. They look as if they had been tie dyed out in the field. For those who are craving a leafy green vegetable in Arizona in summer, here's your chance to get your fix until the weather starts to cool off a bit and lettuces will come back to the markets.

​When is Callaloo in season?
April/May through October/November.

Selecting, storage and preparation tips: If you're a regular In Season reader, you already know that you look for non-wilted, otherwise vibrant and zestful leaves. Keep them dry, bagged loosely in plastic and refrigerated until ready to use. Give them a water bath, spin dry and it anywhere you love greens. Saute, roast, plunge into soups, you didn't know you missed your greens this summer until you play around with a big bunch of amaranth greens.

The young leaves can be eaten raw in like salads but the bigger leaves love a good saute. Amaranth greens are technically an herb and can be used anywhere you might use spinach.

Recipes:

Asian Amaranth Greens
Simple with sesame and soy.

Callaloo Stew
Traditional with garlic, turmeric, scotch bonnets, okra, coconut milk...need I say more. Go make this and then invite me over!

Chorizo, Potato and Quelites Empanadas
The perfect hot pocket. There wasn't a pic posted with this recipe, but imagine something like this:

Wilted Amaranth with Feta
Amaranth Greens are called vlita in Greece. Incredibly simple dish. Tho' feta on anything would be delicious.

Amaranth (Vlita) with Potatoes (Scorthalia)
Another mouth-watering Greek dish. This time with garlic mashed potatoes.

Jennifer Woods is a local food advocate with over 10 years working in the AZ food industry, and currently works for Crooked Sky Farms, a CSA produce farm based in South Phoenix.

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