©2006 Clove Garden
This huge family (Botanists call them all Mustards) accounts for most
of the winter greens and root vegetables humanity has depended on to make it
through 'till spring. Americans, with a seemingly limitless supply of cheap
meat and potatoes, have held cabbages in disregard but would do well to become
more familiar with them for reasons of health, economy and because properly
prepared they taste good.
Drumstick Tree -
[Horseradish Tree, Malunggay (Philippines), Sajina (India),
This fast growing tree from northern India has been planted worldwide
because of it's many uses, only a few of which are as food. The name
"Horseradish Tree" comes from the taste of the roots when ground, but they
should not be used as a condiment because they contain serious toxins. The
main food parts are the pods (particularly in India) which may be over 18
inches long, and young leaf shoots (particularly in the Philippines). Many
parts of this tree also have medicinal properties (the seeds are supposed to
be good for erectile disfunction).
Details and Cooking.
Papaya - [pawpaw, mamao, lechoza,
Papayas are used green in Thailand and Vietnam to make a very popular salad (Recipe) and worldwide as a meat tenderizer and digestive aid. Ripe papayas are eaten as fruit and made into various fruit drinks and concoctions. In the photo are a large and medium (cut) Mexican papaya, a Hawiian papaya (center) and green papayas whole and cut.
Ripe papaya seeds have a spicy taste similar to a mild black pepper and are
sometimes used as a substitute for that spice or in India as an adulterant.
Young papaya leaves are eaten like spinach in some tropical areas, but
mature leaves have an effect on the heart similar to digitalis, though they
can be cooked in several changes of water to remove this effect and their
Capers - [Capparis spinosa,
also C. sicula, C. orientalis, and C. aegyptia.
Australian "wild passionfruit" Capparis spinosa subspecies
nummularia all of genus Capparaceae]
Capers are most known to Americans as pickled flower buds used as a
flavoring element and garnish in salads, sauces and martinis. In the
Mediterranean region where they are native fruits are also pickled as are
The photo specimens of pickled flower buds came from two bottles, both
qualifying for the top "Non-pareilles" designation, though the large ones
barely squeeked by at the 7 mm / 0.276 inch maximum. The small ones were
typically 4 mm or less.
Details and Cooking.
Nasturtiums - [genus
Saltwort - [Batis, Turtleweed,
Saltwort, Beachwort, Pickleweed, Batis maritima (North America),
Batis argillicola (Australia)]
This very salt tolerant succulent plant is little known as food but has
considerable potential. Native peoples on both continent have eaten the
greens raw, cooked and pickled. It's seeds, about the size of peppercorns,
have a nutty taste and have been shown high in edible protein, oils,
starches and antioxidants. The plant can grow well in soils too salty for
most food crops.
Photo by U.S. Geological Survey = public domain.
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