Know your Strawberry Spinach

  • Strawberry Spinach (Chenopodium capitatumBlitum capitatum) is an edible annual plant, also known as Strawberry Blite, Blite Goosefoot, Strawberry Goosefoot, Strawbini, Indian Paint, and Indian Ink

  • It is a very rare and ancient vegetable dating back over 400 years, having been rediscovered at old monasteries in Germany, where it is a commonly grown plant.  

  • When grown as a perennial, the tender shoots are used in salads or cooked like spinach. 

  • However, the real surprise is that at each leaf axle there is an abundance of sweet, strawberry-like fruits which some say resemble mulberries. 

Strawberry Spinach - Origins

  • It is native to most of North America throughout the United States and Canada, including northern areas. 

  • It is considered to be endangered in Ohio. 

  • It is also found in parts of Europe and New Zealand.

  • Strawberry spinach is found in moist mountain valleys.

Strawberry Spinach - Botany

  • The foliage is slender, deeply lobed, and appears in rosettes along long, slender stems. 

  • Strawberry Spinach grows 60cm (2 ft) high, 30 cm (1 ft) wide, with triangular, toothed leaves which are thinner than spinach leaves, very nutritious and high in vitamins. 
  • Flowers are small, pulpy, bright red and edible, resembling strawberries. The juice from the flowers was also used as a red dye by natives. 

  • The fruits contain small, black, lens-shaped seeds that are 0.7-1.2 mm long. 

  • The greens are edible raw or as a potherb, but should be eaten in moderation.

  • The tiny, deliciously tender leaves can be cooked like spinach or used fresh in salads. 

  • If the fruit is left, then the plant will reseed vigorously. 

  • Whilst usually grown as an annual it can overwinter if weather is not too severe and is perennial in habit.

Strawberry Spinach - Uses

  • This is a salad and a dessert in one plant, and you can enjoy two harvests a year from this super-easy plant, ready to harvest leaves after just 45 days! 

  • Both the leaves and the berries are delicious, and it seems that Strawberry Spinach is one of the best-kept secrets of the vegetable world. 

  • It's always so nice when you can use almost the entire plant instead of just one part, and Strawberry Spinach draws out this pleasure by setting new leaves all season long. 

  • Snip off just what you need at the moment, and harvest more later! 

Strawberry Spinach - Language Note

  • "Blite" is one of the synonyms and comes from the Greek word "bliton", meaning a plant with edible leaves. So rest assured, it's nothing to do with blight, we get enough of that with potatoes and tomatoes!
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