Bayam (Amaranthus sp.) is belongs to the family Amaranthaceae and is one of the favorite leafy vegetables among Indonesian natives. It has delicious taste and soft texture that can relieve the stomach and improve the digestion system. The way to serve bayam as one of menu for lunch and dinner is easy and simple that is by boiling the leaves for 3-5 minutes with additions of little bit of salts or lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) and/or ginger (Zingiber officinale). Overcooked bayam is not recommended as the texture of the leaves might become too soft, and reduced the taste and also could destructed some important nutrients, such as vitamins A and C.
Boiled leaves of bayam are often used for pecel, gado-gado, and keripik bayam. Keripik bayam is made by dipping the leaves into the aqueous flour batter and then is fried using coconut oil until become crispy. Bayam contains vitamins and mineral salts that are required in human diet. Table 1 lists the nutrient contents in stem/leaves of 100 gram of fresh bayam.
Table 1. Nutrient contents of stem/leaves of 100 gram of fresh bayam
|Iron (Fe)||3.9 mg|
|Vitamin A||6.090 SI|
|Vitamin B1||80 mg|
|Vitamin C||80 mg|
Two species of bayam are cultivated by farmers in Indonesia as follow:
Bayam Cabut (Amaranthus tricolor L.)
The name of “bayam cabut” is represented by the way this species is harvested, that is by pull the whole plant out of the ground. The species has two varieties of reddish stem and whitish green stem. Among the varieties that have been cultivated by farmers, only two were recognized as superior varieties that are Varietas Giti Hijau and Giti Merah.
Bayam tahun/sikap/kakap (Amaranthus hydridus L.)
The species has broad leaves when compared with A. tricolor. In contrast to “bayam cabut”, this species is harvested by collecting only leaves and young stems.
Departemen Pertanian, Direktorat Jenderal Tanaman Pangan dan Hortikultura, 1996. Budidaya Tanaman Sayuran. pp I-1- I-8.