New Zealand Spinach

$6.50

Description

Tetragonia tetragonioides (formerly T. cornuta)

NZ native perennial vegetable known as Kōkihi, which trails or climbs and will produce an abundance of leaves year round, although it may not endure very hard frosts. We have found it hardy to about -5 in a sheltered spot. It is also drought hardy although moisture is required to avoid bitterness in the leaves. The plant has a whakapapa to Rongo-maraeroa (Atua of cultivated vegetables), as well as Tangaroa (Atua of the sea) and Rakahore (parent of rocks and gravels), due to its native coastal habitat. It forms a mat of soft fleshy foliage with a crystalline appearance and can be used as a ground cover though it may dominate more delicate plants. Leaves contain oxalates and so should preferably be cooked or not eaten in large quantities. Steam, boil or stir fry the leaves, or add them to soups and stews. They can also be used to make pesto. Captain Cook recognised the nutritional value of the plant, being high in Vitamin C, and used it to make ‘Sauerkraut’ to fight scurvy. Banks wrote in his journal in 1770 that ‘we had with it (stingray) a dish of the leaves of Tetragonia cornuta boild (sic), which eat as well as spinage or very near it‘*.  Plant 70cm apart.  9cm. Certified organic plant.

* Barbara Santich, 2000: In the Land of the Magic Pudding: A Gastronimic Miscellany, quoted in Nick Roskruge, 2012: Tahu-roa, Food for Your Visitors – Korare – Māori Green Vegetables