Huauzontle

Huauzantle Seedheads [Chenopodium nuttalliae]

Native to Mexico, this close relative of Quinoa was once a major food crop in the region, but largely displaced by corn. Today its immature seed heads are most commonly cooked as a vegetable, but the seeds are still harvested in parts of Mexico and ground into flour. They don't have the coating of bitter saponins that must be removed from Quinoa before cooking, but that makes them vulnerable to birds, further incentive to harvest at the vegetable stage. One popular recipe uses Huauzontle bound with flour and molded around a bar of Mexican cheese, then coated in a fluffy egg batter, fried and served over tomato sauce, just as are Chiles Rellenos.

More on Amaranths.



Buying:   This is not a common item, even in markets serving a Mexican community, and it is seasonal, but I have found it in a large Hispanic market here in Los Angeles (BurbankK) in late September and early October.

Storing:   If fresh, it will keep loosely bagged in the refrigerator for maybe 5 days.

Preparing:   Strip all the buds from the stems. This is a bit tedious, best done sitting down at the table with a mug of beer. 1 pound of fronds will take about 1-1/4 hours to strip.

Yield:   Presuming the stems aren't overly long, 1 pound will yield about 12 ounces (75%).

Subst:   There isn't anything close.

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