Many of you have seen and tasted and even bought purslane, a succulent green that grows as a weed at our farm. It is a succulent herb high in beta carotene, Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C that can be eaten fresh in salads or boiled into cooked dishes. In addition to purslane, just this week some of the market gardeners brought "machicha" to harvest. After consulting with our neighbors at the Brookside market, we figured that "machicha" is just Swahili for wild amaranth!
The amaranth we are selling and the grain amaranth sold in the grocery store are different varieties. Like corn, grain amaranth was domesticated by ancient Mexicans and can no longer propagate itself. Those plants can produce up to 150,000 pale white seeds per one plant! The plants we bring to market are so-called wild amaranth, which is grown primarily for its very nutritious greens and grows from small black seeds.
The greens can be cooked just as you would leaf spinach or eaten raw in a salad. Content of vitamin A, calcium, iron and other minerals will be highest fresh or blanched in as little water as possible.
Cucumber Purslane Salad:
- 5 large Cucumbers, cut into quarter-round slices
- 1/4 pound Purslane, large stems removed, washed and drained well
- 2 tablespoons each, Fresh chopped mint, cilantro and chervil
- 4 cups Whole milk yogurt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, puréed with the blade of a knife
- 2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
Purslane potato salad:
• 6 medium potatoes, sliced and cooked
• 2 cups chopped purslane
• 4 scallions, sliced
• 1 stalk celery, sliced
• 1 cup mayo
• 5 potatoes, sliced with skin
• 2 cups cooked amaranth greens
• mushroom sauce or cream of mushroom soup
• 1 cup grated cheddar
• pepper and paprika to taste
Cook potatoes in boiling water. Butter a 1.5 quart casserole dish and layer amaranth and potatoes, seasonign with a dash of pepper. Cover with mushroom sauce, sprinkling cheese and paprika on top. Bake at 350 for one hour.
Marinated Amaranth salad:
• half cup vegetable oil
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
• 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
• quarter teaspoon each pepper and cumin
• half teaspoon honey
• 2 pounds amaranth greens
• quarter cup chopped scallions
• one or two hard boiled eggs, chopped
Pour oil into jar or other container, add garlic, vinegar, mustard, pepper, cumin and honey. Cover and shake to blend, set aside.
Cut greens into half-inch strips and steam until tender, 5 minutes or so. Cool to room temp, combine with onion, and add the dressing. Chill for at least two hours and garnish with egg.
Enjoy! We hope to see you all in Overland Park on Wednesday and in Brookside Saturday! Have a good week!