Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tropical Greens

We had a substitute mail carrier one day last week. I was out in the yard and she stopped to lean out after delivering our mail. She peered over at the nearby trellis and asked, "Is that real spinach?"

It was actually Malabar spinach that was twined all over that trellis, but to her, that's real spinach. It turns out that she is from Barbados, and her mom used to cook with leaves from that vine all the time. It was perennial in Barbados, but she didn't think it would grow here at all. She was both surprised and happy to see mine!

A couple of years ago she had tried to grow it here, but didn't have any luck. I told her that mine had taken a Very Long Time to germinate (more than three weeks!), and that it didn't grow well until the weather turned hot. I think she is going to try again. I told her to come back by for seeds in a few weeks.

One way her mom used to use this real spinach was to snip the leaves into rice as a substitute for peas. She claimed that the leaves are very high in iron, so they are good for anyone who is a little low on that particular mineral. I haven't looked that up, but it is interesting to consider, and it wouldn't be a huge surprise, considering that most greens are very nutritious.

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