January 14, 2015

Alternative Greens of Common Tropical Vegetables & Flowers

Unknown to many tropical organic gardeners, several tropical plants that are commonly used for their fruits, vegetables and or decorative flowers have edible leaves (and other parts). Edible leaves are great news because they allow you to get far more food from your tropical organic garden than you had ever imagined possible. Here is my current list of alternative greens. Please let us know of others we have not yet mentioned.



Beet
Leaves are edible as a salad green or spinach substitute.

Cabbage vegetables
Leaves are edible as a spinach substitute.

Carrots
Leaves are edible in salads and soups

Cucumber
Leaves and stem tips are edible.

Cupid's Paint Brush
This less commonly known plant is a cousin of the Dandelion plant with other names that include Emilia fosbergii and Florida tassel flower. It has pink, red or purple flowers. See how cupid paint brush thrives in sandy soil next to my moringa plants. The edible leaves are used mostly in soups.

Dandelion
Leaves are edible. The roots are also used in tea.


Eggplants
Leaves are edible. These edible leaves are often chopped finely and added to stewed dishes with eggplant fruit, tomatoes and various condiments.

Hibiscus
Leaves are edible in salads and soups. One common soup recipe is the Cream of Hibiscus Leaf Soup that includes a blend of cooked alliums (garlic and or onions) previously sautéed, coconut oil, a milk, (sweet) potato, sea salt, black pepper, thyme and, of course, the hibiscus leaves.

Ivy Gourd
The leaves of this plant are often used even more frequently than the tiny gourds.

Lima Beans
Lima leaves and pods (not only the seeds) are edible.

Lime (or lemon)
Lime leaves or lemon leaves can be used in teas.

Okra
Leaves are edible. They have a very strong thickening (and mucilaginous) effect.

Papaya
Leaves are juiced (as a dengue cure. The juice may be mixed with honey for taste. Roughly 2 to 3 mature leaves will suffice per person). Grounded leaves are also edible as treatment against against gluten-related  problems, menstrual pain, cancer, digestion problems (including ulcers). BTW, seeds are chewed and swallowed to get rid of parasites.

Pepper
Leaves are edible

Pigeon Peas
Leaves are edible. In fact, it is believed that the leaves in tea can treat diabetes and high blood pressure.
 
Radish
Leaves are edible as a spinach substitute.
 
Roses
Rose petals are usually eaten in deserts and salads. However, while rose leaves are also edible, they are generally used as famine food. 

Squash Vegetables
Leaves and flowers are edible like a spinach substitute in stir fries, soups and stews. They may even be frozen. Examples include zucchini and pumpkin.

Sweet Potato
Leaves are edible as a spinach substitute.





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