Of the year-old strawberry spinach is a fascinating old vegetable, tastes extremely tasty and is very decorative. Triangular, delicately toothed leaves grow on the almost bare stems, with blood-red fruits in between.
The year-old strawberry spinach with its bright red fruits can decorate balcony boxes, pots, flower beds or path borders for weeks. These old vegetables have been forgotten because the leaves have to be picked by hand as the main stem cannot be mowed with.
The year-old strawberry spinach is a fascinating old vegetable, tastes extremely tasty and is very decorative. Triangular, delicately toothed leaves grow on the almost bare stems, with blood-red fruits in between.
The year-old strawberry spinach is an old farm garden vegetable from the genus of the goosefoot family. Its fruits, which look like wild strawberries, are eaten raw. They do not taste anything like strawberries, but, although they taste juicy and sweet, have a rather bland aroma and are reminiscent of mulberries in taste. With the planting and harvest of year-old strawberry spinach, there is a great change in the vegetable garden as well as in the kitchen.
Because the age-old strawberry spinach is not very demanding, it is more known as an ornamental plant. The age-old strawberry spinach was grown as a vegetable in Europe for centuries, today it is once again a tasty addition to the vegetable patch. In the past, these fascinating vegetables could be found in every cottage garden.
Its spinach-like leaves are also prepared like spinach and have a similar taste. Unfortunately, these old vegetables are a bit cumbersome to work with, as each individual leaf has to be plucked from the stem. Today's spinach varieties have displaced this beautiful vegetable because they can be harvested by machine, which is much easier and faster to do.
The year-old strawberry spinach is still mainly grown as an ornamental plant, because its attractive appearance, with its pretty false ear, is a feast for the eyes. It grows wild on roadsides and even on rubble heaps. The year-old strawberry spinach originally comes from southern Europe and the Orient. Although this plant has a very striking appearance, it is not recorded in any of the medieval plant registers.
The year-old strawberry spinach was first mentioned in the 17th century as a berry-bearing wild melde by the botanist Carolus Clusius in his work "Rariorum Plantarum Historia". According to him, the age-old strawberry spinach came from Spain and then passed through the various botanical gardens into private gardens, where its leaves were then used as spinach vegetables.
In the 19thIn the 20th century, it is no longer listed as a cultivated crop and is rarely found in cultivation. The year-old strawberry spinach is found growing wild in Europe in Spain, France, Italy, the Balkans, southern Scandinavia, Finland and southern Russia. In North America, the year-old strawberry spinach is common in the Rocky Mountains.
It likes to grow on wet and shady banks of rivers and lakes that have nutrient-rich soil. In Europe it is sown between March and July. Its maintenance is similar to that of normal spinach. Good regular irrigation promotes its rapid growth and so the first harvest is after ten to twelve weeks.
Young leaves can then be constantly harvested until flowering, which can be up to 2 kg for a solitary plant. The year-old strawberry spinach can be harvested until late autumn, which means that it is harvested from around May to the end of September. Where it has grown once it will surely come back on its own in the following spring, because this annual plant grows by itself without any problems and is very strong.
The age-old strawberry spinach is almost indistinguishable from real spinach in its early growth. With its upright and branched stems, the plant can grow up to 60-80 cm high. Its lower leaves have an elongated serrated shape and grow up to 7 cm long. The flowers form raspberry-like, spherical balls that are pollinated by the wind.
When the age-old strawberry spinach continues to grow, its flowers turn bright red, from which the fruits, so-called "false berries", arise. In appearance, the berry resembles a raspberry and can be used as a beautiful decoration of dishes in addition to consumption.
This old useful plant was a popular vegetable on the menu of the writer Johann Gottfried Herder, today there is a reconstructed garden in Weimar, in which the age-old strawberry spinach can also be found. Opinions are still divided about the taste of this old vegetable. Some describe it as delicately sweet with a delicious aroma, others think its taste is reminiscent of beetroot and find it bland and earthy. Still others perceive a fine taste of hazelnuts.
The young leaves of the age-old strawberry spinach were used to treat deficiency diseases such as scurvy, as its leaves are richer in vitamin C than spinach. Its shredded and pulped leaves have a mild laxative effect, and the Indians in North America used the cooked leaves to relieve toothache.
The year-old strawberry spinach contains many important ingredients such as carotene, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, proteins and vitamins A, B1, B2 and K, but above all a lot of vitamin C.
In addition, the age-old strawberry spinach contains oxalic acid and saponins, which not only give it a bitter taste, but also produce this typical taste and sensation when consumed, which is particularly unpleasant for children.
Oxalic acid reduces calcium absorption, which is why it is advisable to eat plenty of calcium with these vegetables, for example a cream sauce or baked with cheese.
The oxalic acid in strawberry spinach can be problematic for people with kidney problems, arthritis or rheumatism, it is better that this group of people prefer to avoid it or only eat small amounts of the leaves. Because from around 600 mg it inhibits the absorption of calcium and iron and could promote the formation of kidney stones.
These beautiful vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator for a good week. Best wrapped in a plastic wrap or in a damp cloth. It is also good for freezing, but it should be blanched beforehand.
The fruits of the year-old strawberry spinach can be used as well as the leaves. The young leaves can be used raw in salads or prepared like spinach. The beautiful red fruits are decorative in salads, if you don't like them you can use them as decoration.
According to a legend, a shepherd in Tyrol had turned a nature goddess against him because he had not given up any of his food. In order to reconcile her again he prepared a meal for her from donuts, cream cheese, old strawberry spinach and rose hips. Sounds a bit strange - but it may taste quite tempting - trying it out can't be wrong.