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Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Amaranthus hypochondriacus 'Golden' - 1

bleda, L. Amaranthus hypochondriacus, Ar. baqlat yemaniya (from Yemen) or dhaddah, Fr. blette, Eng. wild amaranth. This annual plant is thought to be a native of Eurasia. The plant existed in Central America and was very popular among the Mayans and Aztecs prior to Spanish occupation. In Ancient Greece, it was the flower of immortality, meaning it does not wither. In medieval Europe the uses were not widespread but in Al-Andalus, the trailing stems and leaves were boiled and eaten like spinach with a little garum, salt and pepper or salt and vinegar or verjuice. At other times, they were boiled in oil and water and dressed with salt, vinegar and spices. The grain can be ground into gluten free flour, although Spanish records do not reflect using it in times of wheat famines. The leaves and grain are richer in fiber, protein, unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and essential vitamins than soya. The green flowers, blooming in August were dried and used to stop bleeding. Fluid extracted from the plant has been recommended for the plague, dysentery and diarrhea as well as hemorrhages. The plant is confused with mountain spinach, as the two are very similar. Today in Spain, it is common to say, "Me importa un bledo," meaning something is of little or no importance to me. See armuelle and jota. [ES: Grieve. “Amaranth.” 1995; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:118; Nola. 1989:xxxii-4:xxxii-5:xlviii-1 etc; Villena/Calero. 2002:23a; and Villena/Navarro. 1879:44]

Serves 4


1 lb wild amaranth (spinach can be a substitute if unavailable)


Photo by: Cookthinker
½ lb chard
½ lb borage
½ c meat broth
½ tsp salt
2 slices of bacon
1 c milk, it can be goat, sheep or almond
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp pepper


Wash the greens in running water until free of soil and grit. Put them in a saucepan with broth and salt. Cover and steam until half cooked about 5-6 minutes and remove them from the pot. Press them between two wooden cutting boards. Then chop them into small pieces.  

Fry bacon in a frying pan. Remove slices when done and set aside.

Gently fry the greens in the bacon fat for a few minutes. Add the milk. When cooked add the spices and stir until all is well mixed. 

Crumble the bacon. Pour the mixture of greens into individual bowls and garnish with the bacon.

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