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Tree Spinach for Breakfast

Normally the Gardener’s Question Time panel demonstrate far more knowledge than I have amassed but, for one question on the show broadcast this weekend, Jane and I were ahead of them. A question was asked about an unidentified, edible plant which grew tall with purple colouring near the tips and we immediately identified it as Chenopodium giganteum, also known as tree spinach. I regret to say that, having stumbled on the identity of the plant themselves, the panel were quite disparaging about it but I am proud to give it room in my garden.

Breakfast leftovers, including humbug striped tree spinach stems

Tree Spinach for Breakfast

One of the uses of the plant, which we tried for the first time this morning, is to cook the stems up. They are striped like sweets and taste rather like asparagus. As you can see from my plate, some have quite fibrous layers but others are soft throughout and I suspect that (like asparagus) the trick is to be a bit more selective in what you commit to the pan.

The leaves are also edible and we had a harvest of those over the weekend. These stems were just left overs but I am glad we cooked them up and tried them with our boiled eggs this morning.