I'm back on the green leaf trail. Gone very exotic I have a'searching for the coloured goods --aka favoured greens.

The more I look, the more I learn that there is more and better greeness out there than we realize.

For instance I just worked out what the 'tree spinach' of the Maya actually was..as it is usually marketed as  a member of the Amaranth family.:Chenopodium giganteum.

The Yucatan Peninsular, Mayan 'spinach' -- 'the original' tree spinach, essential to Yucatan cuisine -- actually is a tree: Chaya  (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius).

Yes I am waiting on a supply...I hope it isn't a long wait. Chaya is so rare because it seldom produces seed and cultivation relies on stem cuttings.

This brings my stomach to the nutrition of green leaves generally -- and not necessarily, European in gastronomy.

Indeed here are a couple of essential reads available online from the Green Leaf For Life Project:

Both excellent reading and must-have references.

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  • Hey Dave

    Great couple of links the idea of drying leaves and storing them is an excellent idea ... I especially like the solar dryer idea in this heat we are having lately it will take no time at all to dry.

    Its a shame the authors felt they needed to equate meat as a superior source for protein and micronutrients where it has an input to output ratio that is far less efficient than just eating the plant source. In the case of B12 deficiency mentioned, this can show up in meat eaters as well and B12 is not actually a product of the animal flesh its self. 

    Though as I said there is some good info in there ....... I have been wanting to try and grow Moringa here but I am not sure if the frosts we get will be too much for it.    

    • I've grown Moringa from seed. I don't much like the taste but it's there if I do change my taste buds.

      What you say about efficiency of eating many meats misses the point that as we cannot eat grass when herbivores can. That is a crucial issue about livestock grazing & human nutrition.

      As for the nutritional robustness of Vegan diets -- this recent article sums up my POV (LINK)-- inasmuch as I know stuff. It agrees with the Green for Life perspective.

      B12 deficiency can be a problem especially for children and, in my nursing experience, chronic alcoholics.  However chronic gastritis,pernicious anemia,celiac disease, and diseases such as Lupus can also lead to B12 deficiency.

      • Hey Dave

        I don't think I mentioned the word vegan, just the fact that by eating the plant source of the amino acids that make up animal flesh it is more efficient for ratios of water consumption, and other inputs required, with no loss of any key elements of nutrition.

        So I don't think I missed any point, as I understand the role of an animal by-product and the integration in a cycle of food production that is why I keep chickens and spent a lot of time looking for a source of cow manure that comes from as clean an animal source as I can.

        I agree with any perspective that values compassion, health and sustainability in our nutritional choices that we make. To which end I make the lifestyle choices I do, to lead a life based around those values and what I perceive should be done to uphold them. 


  • How do you pronounce Chaya? Watched a couple of You Tube videos and it can be pronounced either as "Kaya" of "CHaya" apparently.

    • It seems that in Spanish the 'ch' is the same sound as in 'chocolate' and 'church'.

      FYI: My Chaya is on its way...to me.

  • 800px-Lablab_purpureus.JPG?width=250I've just started to harvest my Hyacinth Beans ( Lablab) while  the pods are still green-- another green leaf source, I gather. LINK

    I'm still exploring Lablab's culinary utility but the flowers are great -- and the vine takes off to the heavens and beyond. It can also be used as a leguminous ground cover.

    "All parts of the hyacinth bean can be eaten. The young beans can be boiled and eaten like other butterbeans, but they are reportedly very "beany" flavored. It is recommended that the dried seeds be boiled in two changes of water before they are eaten due to toxic levels of cyanogenic glucosides which can cause vomiting, difficulty breathing, and convulsions if large amounts are consumed. Young leaves can be eaten raw or in salads, and older leaves can be cooked like turnips or other greens. The flowers are an attractive and tasty addition to tossed salads, or they can be steamed. Tubers are produced that can be boiled or baked. The beans also make bean sprouts that are nutritious.

    "Not surprisingly, the handsome clusters of bright purple beans on long stems has value in the cut flower market. For this purpose, the stems are cut when all fruit on a stem is mature enough that the pod is swollen with its developing seeds. The stems last about 10 days in tap water treated with a floral preservative."(LINK)

  • I have Chaya booked from Daleys. Touch wood I can get a plant when it becomes available. The more trees we have, the more cuttings.

    Even in the US it tends to be only available in Florida and New Mexico -- but I know of a chef, a Mexican tucker specialist, who grows it in Chicago.

    The frost is probably the killer threat...

    In Mexico it is available in most markets, I gather.

    Its namesake 'tree spinach'  -- Chenopodium giganteum -- is not very tasty at all, I reckon.I gave up on it for culinary reasons although it some times self seeds outback.

  • These links are very interesting to read, Dave.  I can see myself reading for the next few days. So much info to absorb and learn. 

    The only place I have found where chaya cuttings have been sold, is from an overseas site.  It may not get through to Australia.  I have read that scientists are developing a cleaner type of chaya plant that does not need boiling for so long and will be a perfect food for countries where food supplies are scarce.

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