Now have a seat, it’s time for a quick history lesson. When we say amaranth is ancient, we really mean it. The Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas who first cultivated it as a food source go back more than 4,000 years. This was a time even before the South American countries
This was a time even before the South American countries were formed as we know them today.
It comes from what used to be known as Mesoamerica–which included what would be Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and northern Peru. This area flourished until it was conquered by Spain and many of its native crops were destroyed.
When the Spanish colonized the Americas, they banned crops like amaranth. They were considered part of Aztec religious ceremonies, which unfortunately included human sacrifice. For many years following, amaranth was a lost seed for generations until it finally made a comeback.
It is not only grown in Latin and South America now but made its way to the U.S where it’s grown in the upper Midwest. For now, you can find it in health-food shops, but we’re thinking it’s only a matter of time until amaranth really blows up.
So amaranth is traced back to South America, more specifically what is now Peru. Because these cultures and tribes were so heavily dependent on farming and agriculture, actually over half of the food we still grow today can be traced back to the Incas and their crops in and around the Andes.