The kalunay plant, like the papait plant is one of those that you would rarely see in the market. Both grows wildly and finding them would draw a smile on a face of those who knows they are edible.
The kalunay, is a weedy plant and from seeds one can successfully germinate it when the warm days comes. And once they germinated, you don't have to worry about planting more of it (wild spinach) next year, kalunay self-sows and you would see a lot of kalunay sprouts the next year. It's been one of those plants that we have planted on our container garden. And even on the pot, it is surprising to see every Spring or early Summer to see all the young sprouts with their reddish leaves. And they appear on almost every pot we have, even on my hanging petunia flowers and it seems to do pretty well up there in the hanging basket.
An edible, healthy eat
The kalunay leaves can be added to soups, stews, and to sauteed vegetables. It is one of those vegetables that I love to put on my sauteed sardines and on the Filipino chicken soup dish, tinola.
It is healthy too, specially the young sprouts, with its reddish leaves. Some choose to include even the roots on cooking after being washed thoroughly. While some prefers to rid of the roots, whatever suits them. I had eaten the young sprouts with its roots and there's not much difference with the taste. At a young age, I was told including the young roots is healthier. This plant is a good source of both C and A vitamins, manganese, calcium, iron and folate amongst others.
Kalunay ~ from sprouts to the young plant photos
Young kalunay plants, sprouted on a pot sharing it with a Thai chilli. This was the last day of March and this pot is only one of those places where the kalunay seedlings had sprouted. Some are on the other pots with other plants and even found one with the fuschia and on a hanging basket with the petunias.
Kalunay is a self sowing plant and new plants greets as every Spring on almost every pot we have, still it was odd seeing it on a hanging plant with the petunias.
Below, a young kalunay plant I had spotted when we went visited my uncle first week of June. Young kalunay like this still bears their reddish leaves which later disappears as the plant matures.
Kalunay (Wild Spinach) Seedlings (2014)
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- Papait Plant
The papait plant, small, yet packed with goodness and despite of its bitterness, still is one of the favorite herb of the Ilocano people of the Philippines.
Did you know?
* Amarant means "unwithering" from its Greek word amarantos.
* A prepared warm poultice of kalunay leaves can be applied to treat hemorrhoids externally. Or it can be used to treat boils.
* Kalunay, (amaranthus dubius) is valued by people all over the world as a leaf vegetable.
* It is known in the Andes today as kichiwa and huautli to the Aztics.
* It is known in Thailand as phak khom.
* This usually grown leaf vegetable in Asia is a self-sowing plant and you'd be surprise how many young sprouts you will find the next year.
Some other names for kalunay (amaranthus dubius) is:
* Spleen amaranth
* Chinese spinach
* Red spinach
* Rau Den
* and known as ptee in Cambodia.
Video of our tallest kalunay plant, which is around 3 ft. tall. Seeds are also maturing.
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