Texas Heat Superstar: Growing Malabar Spinach

by Texas Homesteader ~
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I love fresh spinach & I’m sure to plant it every year in my edible landscape garden.  It’s beautiful, leafy-green and makes a lovely border.  Oh, and you can EAT it!  What’s not to love??!

But in our part of NE Texas the window of opportunity in enjoying fresh spinach is short.  In no time our spinach bolts and becomes bitter.  But I’ve recently been introduced to a completely different kind of spinach.  One that grows vigorously in a vine.  In the heat! Malabar spinach!

Dark-green heart-shaped leaves that grow in a vine even in the Texas summer heat. Beauty, edibility and heat-loving staying power. #TexasHomesteader

A sweet friend had some Malabar spinach and offered to share some starts with me.  She told me it grows dark green heart-shaped fleshy leaves in a lovely vine and it loves the Texas heat.  Really?  Hummm…  I’ve got to check this out for myself.

NOTE:  I sometimes harvest and dry the seeds from my own Malabar Spinach and offer it on my online store HERE.  If you’re looking for seeds check out my store!

(If I’m out of seeds, you can often find them from other vendors on Amazon *here)

Malabar Spinach Takes On Texas Heat

My friend gave me a start and I planted it in a large container on the East side of the house.  Now although it’s protected from the West sun, that container got plenty of hot easterly sun.  Oh, and it was next to a brick wall.  That first year I thought I’d lost it.  But the next spring two Malabar spinach plants sprung back to life!

Dark-green heart-shaped leaves that grow in a vine even in the Texas summer heat. Beauty, edibility and heat-loving staying power. #TexasHomesteader

In no time the vines were growing everywhere.  So I needed to make some sort of makeshift trellis for it.  I bent a piece of animal fencing for it to grow on.  And grow it did!  Some say it can be invasive.  But ya know, we planted our home in the Botanical Hole of Death so I really need scrappy plants.  I haven’t personally found Malabar spinach to be invasive, this one’s a keeper for me!

Dehydrating Our Malabar

I enjoyed harvesting the leaves of that Malabar spinach all spring, summer & fall to saute with my fresh garden veggies and herb bombs for a quick, healthy side dish.

When the growing season was almost over for the year I decided I wanted to dehydrate some to preserve it.  I’ve written before about dehydrating regular spinach, but this time I harvested a full crop of fresh Malabar spinach leaves.  I washed them and ran them through my nifty *salad-spinner.  I love this style of spinner, you only press the top & it spins the bowl within.  Quick & easy!  And this quick step removes excess moisture so the dehydrator doesn’t have to work as long.

Salad spinner before dehydrating. Dark-green heart-shaped leaves that grow in a vine even in the Texas summer heat. Beauty, edibility and heat-loving staying power. #TexasHomesteader

Anyway, after the leaves were washed & dried I placed them on the trays of my *Excalibur dehydrator.  I can’t believe it took me so long to make the leap to this 9-tray beauty, I use it all the time!  The Malabar leaves were dry in no time.

Dehydrating malabar spinach leaves. Dark-green heart-shaped leaves that grow in a vine even in the Texas summer heat. Beauty, edibility and heat-loving staying power. #TexasHomesteader

I collected the dried leaves from the trays and stored them in a glass jar.  I’ll rehydrate them to make spinach quesadillas or to saute with fresh veggies as I did all summer.  I’m also thinking of using my *coffee grinder that I keep separate for dehydrated food and grinding the dried leaves into a powder. I can use this powder in my Endless Soup to add some nutrition and flavor, or perhaps when I’m making my homemade pasta noodles.  So many healthy options!

Collecting Malabar Spinach Seeds

I also harvested some of the seeds and sat them aside to dry.  The seeds themselves are covered with a purple flesh but it didn’t stain my hands.  A quick wash & the purple color was gone!

Malabar spinach seeds with purple stain. Dark-green heart-shaped leaves that grow in a vine even in the Texas summer heat. Beauty, edibility and heat-loving staying power. #TexasHomesteader

I’ll let the seeds dry and put them in a labeled envelope in my fridge.  All my garden seeds are in a refrigerator drawer, just waiting for me to plant them in February.  I typically get a head start using my portable indoor greenhouse setup.

Next spring I’ll be sure to plant this Malabar in a very prominent place in the decorative Edible Landscape bed right at our front door.  Beauty, edibility and heat-loving staying power.  Now THAT’S something I can get behind!

Have you ever grown Malabar spinach?  If you’re looking for seeds you can often find them in my online store listed above.

~TxH~

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17 thoughts on “Texas Heat Superstar: Growing Malabar Spinach

  1. Alesca

    This type of plant is grown in my garden and there seeds was the same as a pic whivh i seen here and now i m confused is it same or not

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’d be very hesitant to eat a plant which hasn’t been properly identified, Alesca. Your extension agent is a great resource for this kind of thing. You can either bring portions of the plant into their office to identify, or I’ve even taken detailed photos of plant, leaf, bark (where appropriate) and flowers or berries and sent via email to have the extension agent identify a plant or tree for me. Especially if wondering if it’s edible. Better safe than sorry! ~TxH~

      Reply
  2. Dianna Cloinger

    I am in Central Arkansas and would like to plant the Malabar spinach this spring. Pretty sure I will have to order my seeds, do you have any suggestions for suppliers?
    I just discovered your blog this week and love reading all your posts. We always have a garden and preserve all we can and we have bee hives and chickens. And I make soap so I really enjoy reading all about your experiences. Thanks for all the info.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve updated the post to include a link to buy Malabar Spinach seeds Dianna. You can either go to the red section in my post & click the link or copy & paste this link into your browser –> https://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=as_li_qf_sp_sr_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=taymadranblo-20&keywords=malabar spinach seeds&index=aps&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=xm2&linkId=532088408b963a8b095507e179eaf520

      Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’d think an indoor planter might make it easy to have spinach all year ’round regardless of your growing conditions. I mean, you don’t need pollinators or anything, just harvest the leaves and let ’em regrow. Hummmm… I may consider that for fresh winter veggies here! ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Terri S.

    I’ve never tried this type of spinach but it sounds interesting. I live in Southern Missouri and it gets very hot and humid here. My spinach also bolts quickly. I believe I’ll try this in the spring. Thanks for the info. ☺

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve been pretty happy with it Terri. It’s a fleshier spinach than the traditional spinach I’ve grown, so I harvest the leaves when they’re still really small. I like to chop them coarsely and saute them with our other garden veggies. It’s delicious that way! I’ve tried it on sandwiches and the fleshiness of the spinach leaves makes it less desirable to me than the traditional spinach, so I enjoy it mostly sauteed or dehydrated. ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. Margy

    I’ve never grown Malabar, but I did try New Zealand spinach. It did survive the hot summer months, but I didn’t really like the texture or taste of the leaves all that much. – Margy

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      This Malabar is different than traditional spinach too Margy, and it is a fleshier leaf than what I’m accustomed to. As a result I didn’t enjoy it raw on sandwiches like I do traditional spinach, but I loved it chopped coarsely and sauteed with other fresh garden vegetables. ~TMH~

      Reply
  5. tonia conner

    You think this would grow in Ky, we are zone 6. Not a s hot or humid ou you all. If you think so , I would love a couple of seeds to try if you have a few extra. I love salads in the summer and this would be great.
    If not this year maybe next year. 😎 I understand.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Not really sure where all it grows well, Tonia. This is my first year to actually grow it. I thought I’d lost it to the drought last year, but it sprouted back up this spring and grew like gangbusters. I’m anxious to try it in my edible landscape next year. ~TMH~

      Reply

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