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Thursday
Oct302014

Flying Dragon Callaloo - Amaranth with Hardy Citrus

Grow amaranth for a splash of hot pink in your garden and for a purr-fectly tender, nutritious green. Also called callaloo, it's popular in Jamaica, Belize, and Guyana the soupy stew also called callaloo. Amaranth is like spinach with benefits: pretty, no pests, easy to grow, easy to harvest, and with edible flowers. It's good raw or cooked.

hot pink amaranth leaves

In this recipe, amaranth greens and flowers are seasoned with hardy Flying Dragon citrus from my garden (Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'.)

hardy citrus Poncirus trifoliata Flying Dragon

I bought the amaranth seeds several years ago. Rogue seedlings popped up in force this year after we removed a hedge near the former vegetable garden. Fortunately, amaranth is easy to find for weeding or eating because hot-pink leaves top the seedlings. I let a few grow tall for fun and to cook. How tall? About ten feet! That's my truck for scale in the lower right foreground.

tall amaranth plant in garden

Even this late in the year, the leaves are tender and sweet. Cook the flowers and seed heads for texture and extra nutrition. Keeps some flowers to use as a centerpiece.

Flying Dragon Callaloo or amaranth cooked with Flying Dragon citrus and served with sweet potato and black-eyed peas

Active time: 10 minutes. Total time: 20 minutes. Serves 4.

2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 yellow onion
8 cups amaranth included flowers and seed heads if available
2 Flying Dragon oranges or 1 lemon

Flying Dragon Callaloo

  1. Mince garlic and set aside. Heat oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Chop onion and add to oil. Cook onion until soft, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  2. Rinse amaranth well, holding large flower heads under water for a few minutes to encourage any bugs to swim for freedom. You probably won't find any, but it's better to find them now than at the table! Strip amaranth leaves and thin stems from any main stems that are thicker than a drinking straw. Chop amaranth roughly so flower heads are intact but amaranth will fit in your pot.
  3. When onion is soft, add amaranth to the pot, stir to wilt, and cover pot. Cook on low heat until amaranth stems are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Cut oranges or lemon in half and squeeze to remove juice. Toss juice with amaranth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve Flying Dragon Callaloo hot with hot sauce or hot vinegar on the side if desired. Refrigerated any extra for four days or freeze for two months.

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