Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kitchen Garden 2012 ~ Malabar Spinach

Malabar--June 2012
Something new to my garden this year! Red Stemmed Malabar spinach (Basella alba 'Rubra'), also know as Ceylon spiach, Indian spinach, Vine spinach and Malabar nightshade, has no relation to common garden spinach and it isn't a member of the nightshade family. What is it?--It's a heat-loving, great-tasting (spinach alternative) and an attractive addition to the kitchen garden! It has thrived in the record high temperatures that my Midwest garden has had this season--in fact it seems to have appreciated the heat and drought!

The leaves can be harvested and used similar to spinach... in salads, quiches, sandwiches,stir-fries etc. Nutritionally, it has high levels of vitamins A,B, & C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, and decent amounts of Iron and copper.

Malabar--August 2012

Malabar grows as a perennial in the tropics, but will reseed easily in cooler gardening zones. Small pink/violet blooms turn into dark berries that can be left to dry on the vine then harvested (as seeds) in the fall and saved to sew directly into the garden soil the following spring,--but the vine will reseed vigorously and seedlings can be easily collected and transplanted.


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