Green "Callaloo" Amaranth
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Seed Count: Approx. 200 seeds
Days to Maturity: 90-120 days
Description: Green Callaloo, just like other amaranth varieties, is super easy to grow. The smooth bright green leaves have a tangy spinach like taste, and is often used like spinach. The young leaves can be used fresh in salads, and the more mature leaves should be cooked, and can be used in stir fries, soups and stews. However, this green is precious to us in the Caribbean, and we make a "Callaloo" dish that is slightly similar to Southern collard greens with them, but it is most widely known in Callaloo seafood soup. Amaranth is very heat tolerant, and is a great variety of greens in areas that are really hot. It is super hardy, nutritious, resilient, and prolific. Try Callaloo sauteed with onion, garlic, thyme, chopped tomatoes, and some scotch bonnet. You can serve this dish with saltfish, johnny cakes, breadfruit, and boiled green plantains, if you wish to really partake in island gyal tings dem.
How To Grow
Sowing: Amaranth germinates when the soil temperature reaches at least 70 degrees F, so gardeners in cool climates may want to start their seed indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting. Direct sow the seed several weeks after the last spring frost. Sow thinly, 1/4" deep, in rows 16-18" apart, thinning the seedlings to 10-12" apart as soon as they appear. Some gardeners prefer closer spacing such as 2-3" if they are harvesting the greens only. Amaranth prefers full sun and well drained soil. Germination should occur within 8-10 days.
Growing: Amaranth tolerates drought very well once it's established, but the greens will be more tender, if the soil is kept moist. Plants grown in average garden soil will be 4-6 feet tall, while those grown in rich soil or compost may reach over 8 feet. Add a general purpose fertilizer once or twice during the season.
Harvesting: Amaranth greens can be harvested as soon as they grow big enough for eating, and they continue producing well into late summer. For the best flavor, harvest the leaves before the plant flowers; the leaves will begin to mature in about 40 days after planting. Individual leaves can be lightly harvested from each plant even if the goal is to harvest the grain, which will mature about 120 days after planting.