There's a lot of info about Chaya on YouTube (LINK) --if you are keen on the research.
I'm still waiting for my cutting -- so I amuse myself with possibilities.
Of the YouTube fair -- I thought this one was very useful as it explores Chaya primarily as tree -- even as a bee and butterfly attracting shade tree.
Grown from cuttings. How easy is that!
Chaya out-performs most other green leafy vegetables nutritionally.
I see Chaya as a companion kitchen green to Katuk and Okinawan Spinach.
The leaves are prepared much like spinach. Chaya must be cooked, however, because of the presence of cyanogenic glucosides. A recent study in Guatemala (Molin a Cruz, et al. 1999) of different ways of cooking chaya* found that boiling in water for 10-15 minutes removes toxins to below harmful levels. Boiling with salt added to the water resulted in less loss of Vitamin C from the leaves. The stock or liquid the leaves are cooked in can also safely be consumed as HCN (Hydrogen cyanide), the principal toxin leached from the plant, is volatilized during cooking. The Guatemalans also found that the HCN toxins were removed by pressure and steam cooking, as well as frying (no less than 5 minutes) and microwaving for 10 minutes at 550 watts in a small amount of water.This last method resulted in the least loss of Vitamin C compared with all other methods. (LINK)
Yes, Dave I have mine as well. Looks like it has to go in full sun, and full steam ahead. Don't defoliate more than 50% and boil for few minutes, even with boiling for that time it still has more goodness in the leaves than other greens. It just needs another green to add a couple more nutrients and then it is almost a whole food.
Sounds too good to be true, why haven't we heard of this before? I have read a lot of the studies and as long as it is cooked there is no problems. Don't use aluminium saucepans to cook the leaves, this is the case with most green leaves. Glass or pottery containers are OK. Suppose Stainless steel may be OK.
Looking forward to trialling it especially with the high calcium content, it could help with my bones.
Thanks Dave for sharing info.
For some reason ning shrunk the nutrition image (LINK) in the original post. But it is pretty awesome in way of attributes.
I'm now in the business of chasing recipes using Chaya. One that I came upon is mixing it in a tortilla.
Like this --although some just fold the tortilla over the cooked Chaya:
'Chaaya' is the pronunciation by the way.
Another fav is with scrambled eggs.
This is Yucatan drool worthy magic:
My chaya is now as tall as I am and is putting out leaves that I harvest.
You know that moringa is supposed to be a nutritional darling, right? That may be so but it tastes awful. You need to drown the taste.
Still I have about 8 moringa growing.
Chaya, on the other hand, tastes great and there is a lot to eat in one leaf.They're almost plate sized.
I mean what's not to like? Perennial. Easy grow. Fast growth. Tasty. Grows in semi shade. Extremely nutritious...
The only draw back is they mainly must be reproduced from cuttings. This is why they are rare I guess. I haven't taken cuttings off mine yet but will as soon as I can.
So in rating my greens intake by menu taste preference and usage preference:
Other greens are less reliable.Huauzontle for instance.Neglected it dries out. Molokhia is a short harvest annual. I can't stand Malabar and I'm never desperate enough to eat squash leaves.Piper Lolot works for me as both a green and a herb. Not too much at once but worth growing and throwing into the pot for zing. it can be weedy.
I'm not growing salad greens except endive and a few chicories. But both can be cooked in Italian cuisine. I do love endive, though.
Silver beet I can't grow so well. Nor English spinach. I'm not too fussed on their taste either.Kale: no thanks.
I don't much like Brazil spinach.
But with chaya...I'm a happy man.
Nonetheless, I'm hoping to explore mustard greens -- which are eaten by millions across the globe.. When I was doing time at the Green P farm in Deagon, mustard greens were the first thing refugee gardeners would plant. So I'm interested. They are so easy to grow and offer a big leaf.
What about Choko leaves . Moringa can farmers plant as an animal food tree that's going to be there when other plants die.
There was an item on last night's Gardening Australia which mentioned Green P and the mustards.
I must watch it...
The focus on Mustard greens by these groups was amazing. Two maybe three types of mustard greens. First thing planted in new beds. I see where you can start harvesting leaves at 4 weeks.
Here's a good DIY. Mizuna is mustard green but I never thought to cook it.
Mustard greens can be eaten raw or cooked, with the smaller young leaves being the most tender for salads. Larger leaves can be quite spicy but will get milder when you cook them.
Mustard Greens are rarely available even at the markets but since they are such quick growers, it should be easy to stagger production.I can get seedlings however...
As for choko leaves, Jeff, like many other squashes, they are fine to eat but pretty flavorless.
Have only eaten choko leaves fresh off the plant the new growth and tasted like bean have read that some places that is all they grow them for is the new shoots .Turnip greens was that on gardening Australia a few weeks ago.