Growing And Eating Green Malabar Spinach

Growing and eating Green Malabar Spinach

Who’s growing and eating green malabar spinach? I think everyone should grow them and eat them. What the heck is green malabar spinach (Basella alba/Basella cordifolia)?

If you don’t know it’s an edible vine that is very delicious.

There are two different types of them but today we are talking about the green one.

This vine is grown for the Hmong people’s postpartum diet. It’s high in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium. It is a good source of phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

Green malabar spinach is not a true spinach but it tastes like it. It can be used in salads, cooked in soups, or stir fry.

Malabar spinach has naturally occurring chemicals that help keep your cells from premature aging like antioxidants, beta carotene, and lutein. That’s why it’s a must in our postpartum chicken diet.

How to Grow Green Malabar Spinach

Malabar spinach isn’t picky on the soil it grows in, however, if it’s in a rich nitrogen soil it will do better. They do grow okay in my soil, but I have to keep an eye on them before it’s established. And sometimes it doesn’t make it.

For me, they grow better in a container because I have sandy soil. I mixed my sandy soil with compost and cow manure or processed chicken manure. They seem to thrive in that.

You can grow them by seed or cutting. They do well in pots or containers with a trellis. They do well in the ground as well if you live in town where you have clay soil it’s even better.

Just remember that we live in the desert and when it’s hot with temperatures rising to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.89 degrees Celsius) you want to shade them partially.

Too hot and they will bolt but if it’s covered over the summer, it will grow with big succulent leaves.

In other places besides Death Valley and us, you can plant them directly into the soil and use tomato cages for climbing. I seeded mine.

They are perennial but when they drop seeds new ones will emerge and you’ll have an abundance of them soon enough.

Keep soil moist not soggy in a bright sunny location or with a full spectrum grow light when starting indoors. Transfer into the ground after their true leaves have shown, five inches high, and last frost date. For outdoors plant them in a sunny location after the last frost date. Once it has been established even the cold can’t kill it where I live. I’ve heard even back east they lived.

They thrive in the heat as they are warm-weather plant.

When To Harvest

What is great about green malabar spinach is that they can be harvested at any time as long as the leaves are 3 inches long and one inch wide.

However, if you leave them on a little longer, you’ll get some that are as big as 7 inches by 3 inches.

I have heard from a few people including my mom. There are some miniature ones too. I’ve never seen some. Miniature means small leaves.

Eating the Green Malabar

There are several ways of eating the vine. As I mentioned earlier you can put it in your salad. Use it in your soup. And stir-fry them. They taste like okra but not that intense. Some say it has a citrus taste to it.

I don’t taste that, maybe, because I don’t eat them raw. It has an earthy smell when picked.

Older and bigger leaves don’t taste as good in a salad because they will have a sour taste (citrus) and be a little stringy, best for soup then.

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