I am growing some for the first time this year. I have read that the leaves must be cooked first before eating. Does anyone have any experience cooking the leaves of this plant?
I picked up my Burpee catalog when I saw your post. I think I read on your blog that you have a shorter growing season. I'm surprised you picked a variety that is 70 days to harvest.
If you have never tried Malabar spinach I recommend it. It's a beautiful vining plant that is edible also. I plant it next to the posts for my deck. It winds around the posts, looks beautiful and tastes great!
Pretty.gurl - New Zealand spinach is a very hardy type of spinach that it is usually used cooked in soups, it is too thick to eat raw. It is hard to germinate but very easy to grow and reseeds itself. The taste is mild and goes well with potatoes and milk.
On the other hand Malabar spinach is very slimy when cooked, something like okra, you really have to like that kind of texture, most people don't and in my experience grows like a weed in warmer climates.
Silvia - I've never cooked Malabar spinach. I've just eaten it raw.
Good to know. I won't be cooking it if it's slimy.
There are two kinds of Malabar spinach, the red one is very pretty. If you like the taste raw, then is also a good idea to grow Okinawa spinach, it grows low and is very pretty like an ornamental. And of course both are very nutritious.
Malabar at Echo in South Florida
Silvia - the red stemmed one is the variety I have grown. Mine has more foliage that the one in the picture however. Is it a perrenial in Florida?
I'm getting my garden orders all together, and I am going to be ordering some red stem Malabar spinach.
You can get it at Evergreen Seeds--they specialize in Asian vegetables. They also carry the green stem variety.
Teresa, how much support does it need? Would a netting trellis work, or does it need more substantial support like a wire panel? Does it need to be planted yearly, or is it a semi hardy plant? (I'm on the border of zone 7 and 8)
Here is a link that might be useful: red stem malabar spinach
Malabar spinach is an annual here in Minnesota Zone 4a.
The stems are surprisingly thick and heavy. I would go with a sturdy support. A large tomato cage or something equivalent would work.
Teresa, it is a perennial here.
Here is a link that might be useful: malabar spinach
The New Zealand Spinach was very easy to germinate and grow. I did purchase the seeds from Burpee. I have been growing it inside. I did choose the plant because it is a perennial and similar to standard spinach. I am hoping to get a couple containers going for all year round production.
What made you choose that particular spinach?
Me? I was looking for perennial compact plant similar to spinach that I could grow in containers. I came across New Zealand Spinach. I was surprised that Burpee offered the seeds because it doesn't seem like a lot of people grow the plant. It really is one of the easiest plants that I have ever grown. It is so low maintenance.
Just to be clear here, neither Malabar spinach nor New Zealand spinach are spinach, though they obviously are greens. They are not "other types" of spinach.
Silvia is right. Malabar spinach is very slimy when cooked, just like okra.
I like making stir fries with Malabar spinach.
If you like spinach type of vegetables, I would like to suggest growing sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoe greens are very tender and delicious cooked.
How dare Burpee list both of them on the page titled spinach!!!!
Mine are grown more as an ornamental to cover my deck posts. I will eat the younger leaves in salad.
Dcarch - how does it work in a stir fry if it's slimy?
There are many greens categorized as spinach and are perennial and that I either grew it before or I am growing now.
Ceylon (Basella Alba) Malabar spinach
Mayan (Cnidoscolus chayamansa) Chaya
New Zealand (Tetragonia) New Zealand spinach, I should of say that it takes a long time to germinate in hot weather climates, it is prolific and reseeds everywhere.
Okinawa (Gynura crepioides) Okikanawa spinach
Sissoo (Alternanthera sissoo) Sissoo spinach
Water (Ipomoea aquatica) Water spinach
Wild (Beta vulgaris maritima) See beet.
A lot of them are extremely easy to grow and be careful in a zone where they can become invasive.
Dcarch, I am growing and harvesting in my garden now yacon, one of the last crops of the incas. You probably will enjoy to grow them as tubers that are edible and taste like an apple, a mild radish or celery. Probably a combination of flavors, sweet and crunchy when raw. I use it in salads...
Teresa, Many stir fry recipes require gravy, Malabar spinach works well with those.
Silvia, I do like yacon. There are a few Hispanic stores around here where I can find yacon.