Botanical Name: Corchorus olitorius
Some other names: Egyptian spinach, Tossa jute, Jew’s Mallow
How to grow it:
Salad Mallow is an annual shrub-like plant that will grow to 2 metres in Summer/Autumn. In the sub-tropics/tropics, it is at it’s best in wet season and is outstanding for producing lots of leaves when other greens are struggling with the rain.
It thrives in all soil types even boggy conditions, and does better in full sun, but will still produce in partial shade. Being an annual, it will die down in winter and need to be resown the following spring.
Will do very well in pots if well watered, mulched & fed – a great plant to have near the kitchen for a big supply of tasty salad leaves.
Propogation is by seed in spring, and for years I painsakingly saved as much seed as I could as this is one of my favorite plants. After a while though, I realised that the plant self-seeds very easily – in fact it seemed to come up all over the place like a weed as soon as the rains came. So now I don’t bother saving seed – I just let it come up wherever it wants, whenever it’s ready.
If you only have one plant, it can be propogated easily by tip cuttings.
A great plant for pots – keep a few near the kitchen and look after them & they’ll definitely look after you!
Excellent source of protein, vitamins, A, B, & C, potassium, calcium, phosphorous plus many other minerals. This is one of the most valuable sources of nutrients we can grow in our backyards. If I could choose just one plant for the best combination of nutrition and taste – this would be it!
Using it in the kitchen:
The tasty, juicy leaves are great in salads and sandwiches and are often plentiful when other leaf vegetables are struggling with the rain.
Can also be added to soups, stews & quiches as can the young seed pods which are used similar to Okra. Make sure you pick the pods young though – as soon as they start getting stringy, no amount of cooking will make them tender.
I also like to use the growing tips in stirfries, omelettes or just on it’s own as a steamed vegetable, which will encourage the plant to branch out & produce even more leaves, tips & seeds pods.
Leaves can be dried when they’re plentiful & added to winter soups & casseroles to provide a protein & nutrient boost – a great survival plant that will reward you year in and year out with very little care.