Magenta Spreen Seed,Organic Specialty Greens, Spinach !
Young leaves and stem tips are "dusted" with beautiful iridescent magenta. Flavor is similar to Lamb's Quarter. Sow thickly and begin cutting when plants are 6-8" tall. Replant every couple of weeks to ensure a continuous harvest until frost. Organically grown.
A beauty in the field with sparkly green leaves and a pink powdered center. Known not only for its densely packed nutritional value but also for its ability to color the lips pink. Use steamed like spinach, or for an addition to salad mixes like amaranth and orach, or as a micro-green. Mild flavor is nutty and fresh. DETAILS.
If you like spinach and enjoy cooking with it, consider growing magentaspreen (ma-gent-uh-SPREEN). Here is a plant that is beautiful in the garden, with soft green leaves and a splash of hot magenta-pink at the top of each stem. It is easy to grow -- much easier and more productive than spinach. And it is also a tasty crop. It has a milder flavor than spinach; some would say it's almost as good, and others would say it's a little better. In mixed dishes, most would agree it is indistinguishable. Preparation: Use a few of the youngest leaves in green salads, to add their bright splash of hot pink. Use both leaves and young stems simply steamed, like spinach, or try steaming them mixed with combinations of greens, such as chard, escarole and young mustard leaves, and served with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Magentaspreen leaves and tender stems are also fine in omelets and frittatas, quiches, curries, lasagna or spanakopita (Greek spinach pie with filo dough and feta cheese) and can be used in soups, being especially nice in miso soup.
History: Magentaspreen is in the same plant family that contains spinach, beets and chard. It is one of the many chenopodiums, or lambsquarters, that have a long history of being grown in gardens or gathered wild, sometimes for leaves, other times for seeds, sometimes for both from the same plants. In South America, there is the grain quinoa, Chenopodium quinoa. In Mexico and the Southwest there are the greens known as quilites, which include C. album. Other species have been eaten in Europe as far back as the Neolithic era. One is still eaten occasionally as a garden crop or wild-gathered green in Great Britain under names like fat hen and good King Henry (C. bonus-henricus), though it lost popularity after the introduction of spinach from Persia in the 1500s.
Magentaspreen (Chenopodium giganteum), which probably originated in India, is cultivated in China and many other parts of the world. It is not native to the Americas. Alan Kapular, of Peace Seeds in Corvallis, Ore., obtained the seed from a French botanical garden and introduced it to American gardeners. He also gave it the common name magentaspreen. Why "spreen"? Kapular and a friend had been joking about the fact that whenever they talked about plant shoots, the word "shoot" made them think of guns, so they made up the word spreen instead. When it came time to choose a name under which to sell a plant with magenta shoot tips, magentaspreen seemed natural.
Cultivation: Plant magentaspreen in spring to early fall in a sunny location in moderately fertile garden soil. It is best to use organic sources of nitrogen or an ammonia-based fertilizer, since if you use a nitrate fertilizer, magentaspreen, like spinach, may accumulate enough of it to make it unhealthy for your diet. (Organic gardeners do not have to worry about this problem.) Keep the soil moist. If you have tried to grow spinach, you have probably experienced stunted plants that went to seed while they were still small, and also know it takes many plants to have enough spinach to use in cooking. Magentaspreen will surprise you with the vigorous growth of its leafy spreens, which should be ready for a first cutting in 30 to 45 days and will give you a much larger harvest than the amount of spinach you could grow in the same space.
Magentaspreen, which is sometimes called tree spinach, will grow to be gigantic if not restrained. The mature plants are 6 to 8 feet tall. The leaves are triangular or unevenly diamond-shaped, with wavy edges. A reflective downy covering on young leaves and leaf undersides makes the magenta part seem even brighter. The flowers, like those of other members of this family, are tiny and lack petals, but have five sepals and five tiny stamens (look with a lens). They ripen into seedpods that look like bumps on the stems. If the black seeds mature, they will fall and often grow, giving you a crop without replanting. This can be too much of a good thing, though, so you might want to take your plants out before they go to seed. If you do want to save self-sown seedlings, their magenta centers make them easy to recognize, and they transplant well when they are small.
Harvest: Take whole plants when they are up to 8 inches tall, or let the plants get larger and break off tender leafy stem tips. Keep harvesting stem tips until the plants begin to bloom, then pull them out and eat any leaves or tender stems that remain.
Magentaspreen is a nutritious vegetable, rich in vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. Chenopodium species, like spinach, chard and a number of other vegetables, contain some oxalic acid. Some people are hesitant to eat spinach and other crops containing oxalic acid because they have heard that it prevents our bodies from utilizing calcium and iron. However, though oxalic acid may limit our absorption of the calcium and iron from crops that contain it, the oxalic acid in these crops doesn't prevent us from using these minerals in other foods we may have eaten.