Sprouting amaranth is a great hobby to pick up if you'd like to diversify your diet with some of the smallest, tastiest sprouts available. Sprouting these seeds isn't hard, but it does require time and a careful eye. The seeds need to be regularly rinsed and drained at certain intervals, so try to arrange your schedule so you can be there to tend them at the right times.
Important Facts About Sprouting
Amaranth sprouts don't store well for very long, so plan to sprout in small batches and make only as much as you need at one time. About 2/3 cup of amaranth will yield one full cup of sprouts. If you end up with more than you need, store the sprouts in the fridge for a few days to a week, and use them as soon as possible. The moist environment the sprouts grow in is perfect for harboring mold, so check them regularly during storage to make sure they're still fresh and crisp, and don't eat them if they begin to wilt or rot.
Directions for Sprouting Amaranth Seeds
- Carefully examine the amaranth, and make sure it's free of stones, straw, and any other objects mixed with the seeds.
- Rinse the seeds with cool water, and drain them well. Both sieves and colanders with small holes are ideal for rinsing.
- Transfer the clean amaranth to a glass jar or container. Pour cool water over the seeds, and soak them in the container for two hours. Most seeds require longer soaking times, but amaranth seeds are so small that a couple of hours is adequate to prepare them for the sprouting process.
- Drain the amaranth again, and return it to the container or another sprouting vessel.
- Keep the amaranth out of sunlight, in a neutral environment that isn't too hot or too cold. Cover the container with a light cloth, sprouting lid, or mesh screen, and secure the lid with a rubber band or other secure fastener.
- About every eight hours, remove the amaranth from the container, and rinse and drain it again. Use cool water each time. Keep this procedure up for two full days, or about 48 hours.
- The amaranth sprouts will be ready about eight hours after the final drain and rinse. Drain them as thoroughly as possible before eating or storing.
Note that since amaranth seeds are so small, they won't produce very big sprouts. After two days, the sprouts should be about a quarter of an inch long. They may grow slightly if you continue to rinse and drain them for a few more cycles, but it's likely that they'll remain relatively small. If you're looking for bigger, more noticeable sprouts, try sprouting mung beans, peas, alfalfa, buckwheat, or lentils.
How to Use
Amaranth sprouts make healthy snacks if you just keep them plain, but they also work well in plenty of other dishes.
- Pop sprouts in a salad to add crunchy, fresh flavor.
- Use sprouts in place of parsley, mint or fresh greens in a distinctive salad, such as tabbouleh or panzanella.
- Wrap sprouts up in a tortilla or pita with a few tablespoons of hummus and some hard-boiled eggs or crisp veggies.
- Top a sandwich with a smear of mustard and a big handful of sprouts.
- Improve a veggie stir fry by tossing in amaranth sprouts right before serving.
- Liven up a cheese plate or appetizer platter by providing some sprouts for guests to pair with the other foods.
A Great Addition to Your Diet
Amaranth sprouts make a tasty addition to sandwiches and salads, and amaranth is compatible with a gluten free diet as well. Try adding this nutritious food source to your diet.