Monday, January 10, 2011

Edible Leaf Crops

This is a subject I just won't shut up about already, I know :)

Like last year, one of our resolutions for this year ahead is to eat more greens...more and more we're realizing just how important they are in our daily eating and in our planning for the longterm in  how we intend to feed ourselves with the highest level of nutrition.

Well, we have NO crops going at the moment, except for some cuttings that are rooting in vials of water on my kitchen counter and a few things under wraps at the moment outdoors (we could be growing plenty of things right now outdoors, but are just going with our existing perennials, most of which got toasted in the freezes).

I found this link about leaf crops, and since we really enjoyed our experiments this past summer with the moringa leaves and chaya leaves, I thought it would be worth a look to see what other leaves are overlooked, highly nutritious edibles...take a peek at the link, since it covers different growing zones.

I can list some right offhand, most of which we have yet to try on a larger scale and some which we've sampled...think of them as unlikely foods that oftentimes are a second crop from plants that bear more familiar foods:

1.  Cowpea (black eyed peas and that family) young leaves
2.  Okra young leaves
3.  Sweet Potato leaves (cooked, not of the true yam family)
4.  Pumpkin and squash  young leaves
5.  Moringa
6.  Chaya/Pig Chaya leaves ( cooked only, never raw)
7.  Clover leaves
8.  Dollarweed leaves
9.  Amaranth leaves

Doing the odd internet search during down time has reaped some interesting finds as far as dual-purpose plants.  Let me know what leaves you find that we never knew were edible...there are areas of the world outside the US in which these optimal foods are eaten regularly and the memory of their use is still contemporary...

5 comments:

pilgrimscottage said...

I do so love your header photo of the pumpkin flowers. Gorgeous! Our aim this year is also to grow and eat more greens. This was a good post. We grow a lot of okra and now, I know what to do with all those young okra leaves.

Alan said...

We always add in baby horseradish leaves. They add a nice bit of zip to a salad or a sandwich.

Mr. H. said...

Thanks so much for the great link.:)

Robbyn said...

Pilgrim...I spent a while tonight catching up on your archives at your blog...HOW wonderful is your little farm?? And I love what you've done with your cottage, too. You must keep the place spotless...if we had only slats for windows, we'd have sugar ants (named for their size, not their food) everywhere, and ...snakes. Yes, our snakes seem to be able to climb. I love your recipes. The okra leaves I mentioned are used in soups, since they have that mucilageous quality that okra itself has...but I also know a friend who has had dehydrated okra pods, simply sliced before drying, and she says they are as delicious as popcorn when dehydrated (the sliced pods)...ever tried that? If so, I'd love to hear if they really are that good.

Alan...those sound delicous!!

Mr. H...your site is always one of my biggest inspirations. Dontcha love a good link?

Paulette said...

Last year I found recipes for radish greens, but didn't get around to trying them. I understand they are a bit bitter, so the right recipe would matter, but I might try it this year if I grow radishes.