Native to the Mediterranean region, it is naturalized in other parts of the world, including much of eastern North America. Although weedy, it is eaten in many parts of the world. The Greeks call the Amaranthus blitum var. silvestre, vlita (Modern Greek: βλίτα), and eat the leaves and the tender shoots cooked in steam or boiled and then served with olive oil, lemon and salt. Similarly, it is also picked as young shoots in Lebanon and cooked in olive oil, onion, chilli, and burghul, seasoned with salt and drizzled with lemon juice before eating with pita bread. It is considered a side dish and particularly popular in the north of Lebanon.
The closely related Amaranthus viridis, the slender amaranth or green amaranth, is also widely eaten.
- "Amaranthus blitum". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
- "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
- Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
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