How Do We Eat It?

But how do I use these perennial plants in the kitchen? This is the question we get asked all the time!

Almost everything in our garden can be eaten raw, straight off the bush (see cautions below). Obviously that’s not for everyone. I usually explain things in terms the perennial greens in the garden (like Okinawa Spinach and Sambung and Sweet Potato leaf etc) can be used as lettuce replacements or spinach replacements. The following picture give you a guide to salad greens.

Lettuce replacements (raw Cranberry Hibiscus and Sweet Leaf only in very small quantities due to Oxalic acid and other compounds, see cautions below)

Caution: some wild plants and perennial greens contain higher levels of oxalic acid or other compounds than cultivated vegetables require cooking before they can be eaten in large quantities. High levels of oxalic acid may are also present in many common foods such as spinach and almonds so it doesn’t mean we don’t eat them just that we are mindful of this. Cranberry Hibiscus, Amaranth and Sweet leaf should all be cooked before eating them in quantity. The wild plants on this website that contain high levels of oxalic acid are oxalis, fat hen, amaranth, dock and purslane.

Cooking can be steaming, boiling, stir frying and baking like spinach and ricotta pastries. Generally, all that is required is a light steam. This allows the nutritional value to be retained.

The question we get over and over again when introducing people to perennial edibles or to bush foods is “But how do I eat it?”. There seems to be apprehension out there about these foods requiring special cooking to be lovely and edible. For the vast majority of plants this is not the case!

Our world and its climate are changing and growing more food locally is going to be a key component of our adaptation to that. Perennial edible plants provide an awesome opportunity to enhance community resilience. This page provides easy recipes to help everyone incorporate more perennial plants into their regular diet.

Second caution: Cassava requires special preparation as both the leaf and root are toxic if eaten raw but when properly prepared they are both delicious, nutritious and a stable food in many places.

Pumpkin Vinegar

Article by Dr Druce Batstone. Recovered 3060g blitzed pulp from 3233g deseeded JAP pumpkin. Overnight with tbs of pectinase at 40C. Blitzed OK without vinegar. Seeds were 109g.Next morning, used immersion blender to breakup pulp. Extracted 2067g juice, leaving 555g solids. Hand squeezing only. Some losses + evaporation of 448g. Added 500ml of mature pumpkin…

Ginger for Sushi

Article by Dr Druce Batstone. Now (late summer) is the time for making sushi ginger.Sushi Ginger1300g sliced gingerBleached in boiling water for 1min.1l rice vinegar + salt + 400g sugar + 3 candied rosellas.Made 7 packs.Vinegar left over after packing. 

Green Pasta Sauce

This one is just delicious! Any perennial green such as Okinawa Spinach, Katuk, Sambung or Mushroom Plant can be incorporated into this recipe. The quantities will vary depending on how many people you are feeding. I’d use 1 handful of greens, 1 all herb leaf and 1 dessert spoon of toasted sunflowers for each person.

Spinach and Ricotta Triangles

This is a classic recipe. Simple substitute lovely perennial greens for the spinach. Everyone cooks it a different way, Tiffany says to do it this way. Ingredients: 4 cups of Okinawa Spinach, Land Amaranth or Mushroom Plant (or all of these perennial greens will work in harmony to create a great flavour and you can…


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March 2023

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