The small leaves are very good. When the leaves get larger you will need to steam them because they are a little hard.
Malabar Spinach grows really well in the heat of our TX summer. I do have them already in the ground.
Forgot to mention, they will get over 10 feet long in one season and reseed everywhere. There is also a green leaf variety that has bigger, fleshier leaves and less flowers and seeds which grew over 20 feet long in one summer here.
I grow it, eat it and like it. I use it fresh and use only the tender new growth. A friend likes his cooked but I prefer fresh.
As Drthor said, it is a heat loving plant. Mine doesn't really take off until the worst of summer. For us in the south, that is the charm. With the incredible summer temps, there is no way lettuce will do well.
Either way, it is a beautiful vine and I will be interested to see how it does for you in NY. Please keep us posted... Kristi
Calalily wrote:Forgot to mention, they will get over 10 feet long in one season and reseed everywhere. There is also a green leaf variety that has bigger, fleshier leaves and less flowers and seeds which grew over 20 feet long in one summer here.
TX_gardener wrote:Thanks Dean, yes it does. I also looked at the profile and comments -- one made it sound like kudzu in growth habits! Is it worth growing? For beauty maybe? Sounds kinda iffy to me...
You will be okay growing it. I had some growing in the garden last year. It'll just freeze and die come winter. No worries and no similarities to kuduzu which I once planted am still fighting.
If you don't harvest the seed, it can reseed but it will be an annual... unlike kudzu. I also find if seedlings pop up they are easy to transplant to where you want them or to give them away.
Drthor ~ your photo appears to be Ceylon spinach (Basella alba) http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/2561/ which is also sold as Malabar spinach but is all green rather than red stemmed. I have some of the Basella alba seed but have never grown it. Do you like the taste? Is it any different from the red Malabar spinach?
The green one has bigger leaves than the red one, tastes about the same but not nearly as many seeds so you get more usable leaves. I grew mine on cattle panels, the row was 32 feet long and I had one plant at each end. They met in the middle. It is a beautiful plant but heavy so use a heavy duty trellis.
I haven't grown the red one in a while and I'm still finding seedlings that pop up.
We call the slimey plants "mucilaginous" but that word doesn't sound any better than "slimey.". Purslane is another slimey one. Sometimes it helps to cook them with scrambled eggs.
I like Purslane, it tastes a bit like green peas and is high in Omega 3. A word of advice, don't let it go to seed. I spent all day yesterday pulling purslane out of the garden! I had a tiny bit of wild purslane a few years ago, bought the Golden Purslane from either Territorial or High Mowing, it crossed with the wild, now I have various colors all over the place.
Inca doves and other doves love the seed.
Traditional south Texas way to fix purslane: In an iron skillet fry pork (pork chops work well), remove meat from skillet when done, add chopped onion, chopped garlic, chopped chile pepper, chopped tomato and chopped tomatillo if you like and about 2 cups chopped purslane. Cook until onion is translucent. Add pork chops back to skillet and add one more cup of purslane. Cover and cook 3 or 4 minutes, to warm meat and barely wilt the purslane. Serve with rice.
Next most popular way, saute in olive oil and add eggs, scramble, serve for breakfast with tacos.
That's funny I keep seeing pictures of Golden Purslane in the seed catalogs. I think it's pretty, edible is a plus.
I grew Red Malabar Spinach for the first time last summer. It was the only thing that survived last summer. I ate it raw but I didn't really care for it. I might have liked it better if I wasn't expecting it to taste like Spinach. It has readily reseeded so I guess I'm growing it again. I'm also growing Roselle which my son loves so I'm not sure how much I'll get.
Due to a limited amount of space and time I'm not sure I'll be able to grow as much this year. One garden has a disease that has taken out Nightshades 2 years in a row. I guess I could grow melon and cukes done there, but it's kind of nice having one place that is 50'x20' but it is quickly filling up with tomato plants the last will go in this weekend. Just not sure how much room there will be for anything else?
Lisa, do the plants wilt suddenly and die? Could be bacterial wilt. The leaves just wilt, usually don't even get a chance to turn yellow, but maybe a little "off color" and the stems are brown inside and look like maybe they were trying to grow roots.
If the leaves turn yellow it could be fusarium or verticillium and there are resistant varieties available.
I used to grow Malabar Spinach in Southampton, LI, Zone 6, where it did very well as an annual. It only got 2-3' tall, as I remember. I ate the small greens fresh and cooked the large ones. It did self sow, but wasn't too annoying. It lasted well through the heat of summer, unlike regular spinach. It's not my favorite, so I don't grow it any more. I stick to lettuce and the various Chinese greens now.
I dont have to reseed they are coming up all by them selves. I doubt that they wont germinate it just might take a little longer. I do know that they like warm/hot soil to germinate. My volunteers JUST came up and its much warmer here then where you are ATM. But I know where you are at gets extremely hot and humid. Yuck!
I have a co-worker standing by telling me how they cook this in the Vietnamese style. He says to slice up the leaves into thin strips. Soak dry shrimp overnight and keep the water (or soak fresh shrimp for a couple hours). You're going for the flavored liquid.
Boil the shrimp liquid, and add the strips of Malabar Spinach leaves to the liquid. The shrimp will flavor the leaves. He says the thicker (bottom) leaves are more flavorful.
You can eat this soup hot, but he says it tastes better if you cool it in the refrigerator, as it is refreshing on a hot day. It is a nice summer soup, that cools you off.
He didn't mention adding any additional seasonings, but noted you can spoon the hot soup over cooked rice (to cut the slime?).