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How Do I Pop Amaranth?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many different ways to prepare amaranth seeds, but you typically need to pop them first. The best way to do this is to place a small amount of seeds in a hot skillet, move them around to prevent scorching, and then remove them after they have popped. Placing more than a tablespoon (about 7.5 ml) of amaranth in a skillet at once can result in scorching. If you need to pop a lot of amaranth, either to eat as a snack or use in a recipe, you can repeat this process several times until you have prepared enough. Unlike popcorn, you do not need to add any oil to the skillet when you pop amaranth.

Amaranth is a type of seed that is typically treated as a grain for culinary purposes. The seeds contain a higher protein content than common cereal grains such as rice, rye, and sorghum, and they are also gluten free. That makes amaranth seeds a potential dietary choice for anyone who needs to avoid gluten, such as people who have coeliac disease. Before amaranth can be eaten, it needs to be prepared. The most common method of preparing these seeds for human consumption is very similar to popping corn.

In order to pop amaranth, you will need a skillet with a cover, a heat source, and a measuring device. You may also use a wok, or another similar pan, if you do not have a good skillet. The wok or skillet should be subjected to a high heat, until the surface is hot enough to vaporize a drop of water. At that point you can measure out a tablespoon (about 7.5 milliliters) of amaranth seeds, place them in the skillet, and immediately cover it. Depending on exactly how hot the skillet is, and how vigorously you stir the seeds to prevent scorching, it typically takes between about 15 and 20 seconds to pop amaranth.

When you pop amaranth, the internal water is heated and causes the cellular structure of the seeds to expand. About 10 tablespoons (75 ml) of raw amaranth seeds will yield a final volume of about 2 cups (470 ml) when you pop amaranth. You can then eat the popped amaranth the same way you would popcorn, either with or without toppings such as butter and salt. Popped amaranth can also be mixed with molasses and honey to make a dessert, or used as a cereal grain in the preparation of bars, cakes, porridge, and other recipes.

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