Warrigal Greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides), also known as New Zealand Spinach, Sea Spinach, Botany Bay Spinach or Cook’s cabbage, were one of the first native vegetables to become popular with European settlers. They contain high levels of Vitamin C and were apparently used by Captain Cook to fight scurvy.
They are a sprawling plant and grow to around 50cm high and will spread to around 1-2metres if not contained.
They have soft,velvety, triangular leaves and small yellow flowers from September to February, which can also be eaten.
The most important thing is to blanche the leaves for 2-3minutes in hot water, and then rinse in cold water, to remove toxic oxalic acid, which can be harmful in large quantities.
They are naturally high in antioxidants and high in fibre.
Leaves will last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
After blanching you can also freeze them.
They are great in quiches, frittatas, omelettes and stir fries or sauted.
There seem to be an abundance of recipes mixing warrigal greens with
native lemongrass and pepperberries.
Plant seedlings around 60cm apart.
Plant seeds in spring and summer, extending to autumn in frost-free areas.
Soak seeds for 2-3 hours in warm water before planting 5-10mm deep.
The leaves should be ready to harvest in 8-10 weeks, or faster depending on your fertilising habits – I’ve heard they like aquaponics..
They will self-seed and you can prolong the harvest period by picking young leaves regularly.
It can die back in winter but may revive in spring.
Leaf Size: Large
FunctionsBush Tucker: Yes
Edible Flower: No
Uses: Vegetable, Freeze
Fire Retardant: No
GrowingClimate Zone: Subtropical, Warm Temperate
Planting Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn
Harvesting Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn
Sun/Shade: Full Sun
Soil: Well Drained, Moist
Frost Tolerant: No
Time to Maturity: 1-2yrs
Watering Preference: Moderate