Chaya, a new found love!
I am just starting to get familiar with the local food sources,
and the first that really has me excited is the Chaya bush.
It is sometimes called tree spinach and is native to this part of Mexico.
It is superior to spinach and other leafy vegetables in its nutritional value, here is a brief list of nutrients;
Percentages are of minimum daily requirement
For now I am happy to have found a perennial
(I think it would perhaps be a tender perennial in other parts of the world)
leafy green plant with such high nutritional value.
Also chlorophyll amount is supposed to be very high, just like my beloved nettles, and I plan to make myself a jar daily of these greens soaked in boiled water for a cleansing water treat.
We already have a few bushes on the land, I just planted a few more sticks the other day.
(Simply cut a few branches and stick in the ground to root.)
I harvest them with gloves as they do have little pesky hairs that really bother in the skin,
more so than the sting of the nettle, in my opinion.
What I love best besides the nutritional value is that from a permaculture perspective they are perfect too.
I hope to fill this land with as many perennial foods as possible so that our intensive gardens might be minimized. Why struggle to grow spinach and leafy greens in this heat when these grow so happily,
and I do not need to disturb the earth each growing season, or plant seeds again and again.
Also the chickens love them, these bushes need to grow all around
where the chickens roam to help feed them as well.
So far I have tried them in two dishes, one a bean salad the other a spanish omelet.
For the bean salad I cooked them lightly with some green beans,
(anywhere you read about Chaya it will tell you to cook before eating as they can release a toxin when raw, I have also spoken to some here who eat them raw,
so far I do not have enough information to eat them raw and will
stick to the cooked kind until better informed)
Once lightly cooked with the green beans I added some chick peas and some brown beans, and tossed it all in a dressing of olive oil, lime, mustard and a bit of honey and salt.
It was very yummy, even the children ate it happily.
I also tried the leafs in my spanish omelet, and it was not a success,
but only because I put too many and did not chop them finely enough.