What’s in a Name?

Bill Bailey, WIUby William C. Bailey
School of Agriculture Western Illinois University

A recent column on quinoa prompted a reader to alert me to a similar grain, which is grown in Illinois, named amaranth. I did some research and learned a lot about amaranth, which has been in the food chain for a long time. It was important to the Aztecs and can today be purchased at our local grocery store, under the name “Bob’s Red Mill Organic Amaranth”. I also learned it is referred to, in some circles, as ‘pig weed’, since it apparently has been fed to pigs. Given the choice, I prefer the name amaranth to pig weed – it certainly seems to have considerably more commercial appeal. “Bob’s Red Mill Organic Pig Weed” doesn’t really do it for me. 

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