Magenta Spreen

Magenta Speen is the hot pink version of Lamb's Quarter, Pig Weed, southern spinach. Others simply call it a weed.

Since I don't  work, any meal I can put into the freezer I view as a bank deposit. Money and gas saved not going to the store. And just like banking.. a plant that doesn't require a withdraw in the form of fertilizer, cultivating or simply time is a savings account.  Magenta Spreen is my savings account, one with a high rate of return. I let it grow with abandon. 
You see, spinach is tedious to grow in the south. It requires liming the soil, vilagent weeding and picking is a hunched over pain in the back. Sometimes it requires winter protection and other times it gets so hot it never has a chance to leaf before bolting. Magenta Spreen is a cousin to spinach, it has the same flavor, yet a rougher, thinner leaf texture. Now I'm not going to tell you it's a great substitute for spinach. I fell for that trick with Malabar. 
The problem with Malabar, it doesn't taste anything like spinach to me, it's bland. The young smaller leaves have the same fleshy, thick texture of spinach, let the leaves get too large and they get unbearably slimy.  Last year I combined malabar with spreen leaves to create a 'fake spinach" salad. It was ok, not something to crave.My Malabar vines didn't make it through this last winter. No plans to replant.  
Magenta Spreen an entertaining plant. The sparkly hot pink coloring rubs off easily. Has been used for 'makeup'  on the lips and cheeks, and indian war paint by resident gardener and children. 

At a time when not much else is blooming. Drought tolerant and grown in full sun the magenta leaves compliment the colors of Carolina Phlox grown in the shadier areas of the garden creating a nice color flow from one bed to another.

It's now gourmet! This post is entirely inspired by A Hungry Bear Won't Dance and her recipe for Lamb's Quarter and Garlic Scape Pesto. I'm  a fan and lurker. I couldn't follow her recipe exactly, the garlic finished blooming last month, but garlic chives I have plenty. Her sun dried tomatoes I substituted with roasted yellow pear tomatoes. No Olives. It wasn't a spinach dish, it didn't have to be, it was wonderful!  I can't photograph food, but mine tasted as good as hers looked. promise.

 While the Mangenta Spreen will never be an exact substitute for spinach, I've a new appreciation for what it is. Tasty, practical, carefree... easy to weed were it's not wanted and beautiful. 
Go grow, gather and enjoy :0)


Tara Dillard said...

Looooooove this. Didn't know about magenta spreen.

And your thoughts about bank deposits. Delicious. Fresh. Perfect.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

koralee said...

Love your words today...learned a little something new.
Now that pasta yummiest makes me hungry and it is only 7:51am.
Hugs for a great new week. xoxoo

Anne Marie said...

I love that! grow gather and enjoy!!
great motto!!