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 Post subject: Mountain Spinach (orach)
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 9:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:03 am
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Location: Portland, OR
This was a completely new one on me; found this at the farmer's market, tasted it, made a delicious salad out of it:

Image

It comes in both red and green; the vendor was selling it as "German mountain spinach". It's actually Orach, or "Red Orach". Strangely, the interwebs completely failed me for researching it; fortunately I still have a paper reference in the form of Alan Davidson. Yay for books. Anyway, apparently orach is a weedy green, of the Atriplex family, which was grown all over Western Europe as a culinary green before the Muslim invaders brought spinach to Europe. It grows in poor, sandy, preferably salty soil.

I'm not clear on why spinach supplanted orach; it's a very tasty salad green. My sweetie had it in a salad, and she won't eat a raw spinach salad. It tastes a bit like a mildly salty cross between spinach and baby chard. It's also slightly more nutritious than spinach. I don't know how it cooks up, we ate it all raw with avocado, onions and goat feta.

Anyway, Pepperhead, this has your name all over it if you haven't finished planting yet. Not only is it great to eat, the red variety is good for landscaping.

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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Spinach (orach)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 3:58 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, ON
Outside of heat, spinach grows super fast and productive, which is likely the reason it has done well, not the taste (which is actually pretty decent). I'd love to try this german mountain spinach.


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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Spinach (orach)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:49 pm 
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I did grow this years ago, and it didn't do real well for me, as it bolted well before it was supposed to, being touted as a warmth resistant green. I never grew it again, but what I have learned from some brassicas tells me that maybe it was not the warmth, but sudden temp. changes that triggered the bolting. So maybe I should try it again, and plant later next time.

After reading that it was a relative of lamb's quarters, which also didn't do well for me, I tried it in Mexican dishes, and it was delicious. Another rsason to try again.

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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Spinach (orach)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 9:06 pm 
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Dave, Paul:

Maybe the bolting and/or low yield is why spinach replaced it.

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 Post subject: Re: Mountain Spinach (orach)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:22 pm 
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Fuzzy,

From what I've heard, it can also become invasive, as it reseeds itself, and becomes a weed. Some simply harvest the seedlings, but it can be annoying.

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