Thread: Asian herbs?
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Old June 2, 2016   #20
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Laurinburg, North Carolina, zone 7
Posts: 3,155

Originally Posted by fonseca View Post
Not herbs, but I grow a few other Asian greens that I can definitely recommend:

Gynura procumbens - "Longevity Spinach"
Gynura crepioides - "Okinawa Spinach"
Basella alba - "Malabar Spinach"
Angelica keiskei - "Ashi-taba" aka "Tomorrow's Leaf"

All are good raw and very nutritious. The two Gynura species don't seem to like cold weather, but Ashi-taba overwinters fine with the few weeks of weather in the teens we get here. I grow them all in containers ranging from 1-5 gallons. All are good raw (the Gynuras are my newest summer spinach alternatives), in stir-fry or soup.

Ashi-taba has a strong but pleasant celery flavor. The stalks are good in stir-fry, I flavor my home-brewed kombucha with them, and dry both the stalks and leaves for herb tea. Very high antioxidant levels and lots of questionable health claims online.

Malabar spinach only likes the heat. The bigger leaves can taste pretty slimy, but small leaves are close to spinach. I haven't tried using the stems or anything. It self-seeds readily. The Gynuras are cutting only.

And finally, I just started seeds for Ipomea aquatica - "Water Spinach", commonly referred to as Kangkong. I have read about it on permaculture forums for years, but could never find a US seed vendor. I believe this is banned as an invasive plant, so maybe that's why. I took a chance and ordered from a Chinese seller on ebay. I'm always looking for fast-growing spinach alternatives, and I have eaten this in restaurants many times and love it. I promise not to let it escape into the wild.
This is great! I need to start my malabar and New Zealand spinach. Never tried either one and summer is the time of year I start to crave my greens,although I often make do with basil.
I will definitely be hitting Lee Lee's and I'm bringing a suitcase just for my shopping.

Last edited by Tracydr; June 2, 2016 at 06:54 AM.
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