Is Malabar spinach Edible? Yes! The Reason Behind it might Surprise You

Spinach is one of the most beneficial foodstuffs you can eat. In addition to being full of nutrients, it’s also pretty tasty if you cook it properly. Malabar Spinach, formally known as Basella alba, is a tropical Asian vegetable that originated in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India. 

So, is Malabar Spinach edible? Yes, Malabar spinach is edible and very good for your health. If you have diabetes, you should eat Malabar spinach daily. The leaves can be consumed raw as part of a green salad or steamed or boiled to make cooked spinach. 

It purifies the blood, strengthens the body, treats cardiovascular illnesses, and provides a variety of nutrients in Ayurveda. Here, we will talk about Malabar spinach, how you eat it, and what benefit it brings to your body.

Is Malabar spinach edible?

Yes, Malabar spinach is edible. It holds numerous nutrients and vitamins that are present in regular spinach. Malabar spinach also contains vast amounts of vitamin C. 

It is a member of the Basallaceae family, not the spinach family. Though they are not of the same family as spinach, they are called such because of their usage. 

They are also called vine spinach, Ceylon spinach and Indian spinach. Malabar spinach is completely safe to eat and indistinguishable from regular spinach once boiled. It’s commonly used to make many kinds of curries in Sri Lanka. It has regular usage in the Philippines, China and India.

Malabar Spinach has a silky vine-like stem and grows fast. It can grow up to ten feet long at its longest point, but it is usually smaller in gardens. It consists of dark green oval leaves which are lustrous and thick. The leaves of Malabar Spinach have a moderate, peppery flavor.

What are the benefits of Malabar spinach?

Malabar spinach has a great many benefits, production-wise and nutrient-wise. The nutrient-rich Malabar spinach has an almost endless list of health benefits. Here is a list of a few.

  • It helps regulate and control blood pressure. 
  • It helps to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the amounts of good cholesterol (HDL) in your blood. 
  • It’s very good for your heart. Daily consumption of this s spinach will lower the blood sugar levels, which is a huge benefit for diabetics patients. 
  • It’s good for the lungs, and it’s good for pregnancy. 
  • It even slows down the aging process. 
  • Malabar spinach even has slight laxative properties, making it a huge help if you’ve been suffering from constipation.

These extremely heat-resistant plants will grow even in the scorching heat of summer, while most other spinach requires cold weather to grow. This is why this type of spinach is more common in hotter climates. 

Areas that are too hot and humid for normal spinach can opt to grow Malabar spinach instead. A measly ten square meter bed can yield as much as forty kilograms of Malabar leaves. So, in addition to being heat resistant, it’s quite the cash crop.

Can you eat Malabar spinach leaves?

You can definitely eat Malabar spinach leaves. Boiled Malabar spinach leaves are part of various dishes in China, Vietnam and southern India. The leaves of this plant can’t cause any garden to you. 

Its leaves are dark green in color, heart-shaped and very thick. They taste citrus and pepper. You can eat the younger leaves raw. Its texture is somewhat slimy, so some people avoid it. The leaves are best eaten before the plants start flowering. Once they do start flowering, the leaves will taste bitter and awful. 

How do you eat Malabar spinach?

You can eat Malabar spinach raw if you mix it with a green salad. It can be used like regular spinach if you steam it or boil it

It’s also used to thicken soups or stews. Sri Lankans use it with Dal. People in the Philippines use it mainly in a vegetable dish called Utan, which is served with garlic, parsley, onion and sardines. 

It is used in vegetable and nonvegetable dishes in Bengal. It can be cooked with Ilish fish or shrimp. The Chinese serve it with soup. In Vietnam, it is a part of a dish called ‘mong toi’. It is even used as far as Africa. So it is safe to say there are multiple ways to consume Malabar spinach. Ranging from a boiled substitute for regular spinach to exquisite dishes served in exotic areas.

How do you keep Malabar spinach fresh?

Gently but thoroughly wash the spinach so as to wash away the dirt and grime. Put the leaves in an airtight box. Put the box in a refrigerator. Malabar spinach will rot within a few days of removal from the plant, even if you keep them in a refrigerator. 

In order to store and keep the spinach fresh, store the leaves in a refrigerator crisper in an airtight container for two to five days.

Is Malabar spinach better than regular spinach?

Malabar spinach can look and taste identical to regular spinach once you boil it. However, it’s not spinach at all. Spinacia Oleracae, or regular spinach, is a distant cousin of Basella alba, Malabar spinach. 

Scientific name aside, they also contain different concentrations of nutrients. Malabar leaves are a good source of vitamin A and C, potassium, calcium and iron. It contains three times more vitamin C than spinach. Malabar spinach is also a better option to grow in summer. 

Most spinach will wilt, bolt, or otherwise fail to germinate during summer. Malabar spinach, on the other hand, loves heat. So yes, Malabar spinach is better than regular spinach.

Final Thoughts

When you are eating your favorite food, you should be able to eat it without worry. But unfortunately, life is not a bed of roses. Most things in nature don’t have a clear sign on them indicating whether they are edible or inedible. So it’s Malabar spinach edible? Yes. You can be sure they are.

Malabar spinach is not only edible, but it also has huge upsides for your health. So boiled, raw, or any way you eat it, you can be free of health concerns. 

Malabar spinach is a beautiful, robust vine that is easy to grow and free of bugs and disease. Even if the flavor of this garden produce isn’t your favorite, it’s a prolific plant that will bring the tropics to your summer garden.

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