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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)

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'Tis here. I just know we are gonna be the bestest of buddies, Chaya and I.

Chaya, also known as "tree spinach," was one of
the first plants offered by indigenous peoples of the Yucatan
to the arriving Europeans.

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.

TORTILLAS CON CHAYA Y CHAYA-NACHOS from Miracles in action on Vimeo.

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:

  1. Chaya is #1
  2. Katuk (Sweetleaf)
  3. Okinawan spinach
  4. Nopales cactus (spineless prickly pear -- despite the paddle not being a true leaf.)
  5. Warrigal Greens
  6. Sweet Potato  Leaf & Kangkong (both pretty tasteless by themselves). Sweet potato leaves are quite nutritional compared to other more desperate harvests. Kangkong can also be stringy (for me) even when grown in water.
  7. Longevity Spinach. Not a great taste and warrants drowning in other mixes.I much prefer Okinawan's taste.
  8. Moringa  --but I add it often because of the nutritional boost so long as the bitter flavour is drowned. Raw its like an emetic.

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.

I have just taken cuttings of my Chaya -- which is now approaching treehood.

"Approaching' but not there yet.

I planted mine inside, what is now, the chook pen -- so access is inconvenient. The site is shaded too -- and there is too much of that for fast growth.

But as tree greens go this is surely something to add to your menu. Highly nutritious -- it tastes better than Moringa or Sambung.


Not as many leaves available as I'd like. So harvest must be selective.  Once I get more 'trees' established I'll be on Easy Street.

So my daily soup fare has a lot to choose from.

I'm always adding Prickly Pear paddles (image right). I also love throwing in Daikon slices. I now harvest and slice up Yacon -- which goes so well in my soup. 

Since I also add Chaya sometimes I standardly boil my broth and its contents for 15 minutes.

As greenery goes I find Chaya a tasty addition on par with my other leaf fav, Okinawan Spinach.

For smoothie types, Chaya and Prickly Pear blended  with spring onions makes a great mush to cook up in a soup broth.

Much safer that way than eating Chaya raw. Don't eat Chaya raw unless you process it correctly.

Another useful addition to the blender  for your soup is Katuk leaves or Betel Leaf as they are resistive to softening  when boiled.

Moringa, I find, is another addition to the blender as separating every leaf from the stem is so difficult and those annoying stem ends will chop up fine in a blender.

Chaya Tree in flower:(SOURCE)

How amazing that all that is edible and nutritious ++++

Here is a good review of Chaya with an extensive discussion about the plant in comments: Green Deane.

My first attempt at a cutting failed. I suspect it wasn't woody enough.

The chaya tree in this video -- from Swaziland -- has obviously been feasted on.

Those are good levels of Calcium, Protein and Phosphorus.  My Chaya is quite tall and time to take some cuttings to regrow another plant.   Such a good plant needs to be kept in numbers. 

Being a Mayan food plant from Belize, it has been around for thousand of years.  Good for diabetics as well, I believe.

Anyone using as animal food does it have to be boiled or will drying make safe.

Marsha Hanzi wrote, “It is...interesting to note that [chaya] is excellent chicken fodder, and can be used in permanent chicken forage systems, cutting whole branches for them to eat. We have observed that access to greens increases egg-production. [Ed: Access to greens also makes yolks a darker yellow. 

More re fodder and forage discussion HERE.


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