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Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Wonders of Mallow

I just had my gal bladder surgery a few days ago, and I guess it's the clean living, I am out and about gently doing some chores. I have been walking a lot, and did a listing appointment a couple days ago. But today I am harvesting Mallow.

 Our winter has stopped here for a bit and the plants all think it's spring. The weather is very mild and bulbs are coming up and so are the "so called" weeds. I have noticed some beautiful mallow plants coming in around the place and decided to harvest some leaves and roots. Flowers won't come out till the early summer, so I left several plants so I can harvest those later. This weed has so much going for it, it will sooth your skin and ease your lungs and digestive tract as well. Here is a run down of this awesome plant that grows just about everywhere around here from the UK's permaculture site.

 Harvest Leaves, in spring; flowers from late spring; seed pods from early summer. Roots could be harvested from larger rosettes whenever large enough. 

Medicinal and nutritional constituents Vitmains A,B,C,E; inulin; mucilage; phenols; flavonoids; essential fatty acids; fibre; calcium; magnesium; zinc; selenium; potassium.

 Traditional and contemporary uses As with many wild food plants, the common mallow has also had a long history of medicinal use. Due to its high mucilage content, mallows make excellent soothing demulcent herbs, especially for cases of inflammation, either for the urinary, digestive or respiratory systems. Pregnant women or new mothers may like to know that mallow leaves can provide useful amounts of iron, as well as being quite high in zinc and most vitamins.

 All of the Mallow family with exception of the cotton plant (Gossypium hirsutum), are reportedly edible. With their high mucilage content, the leaves can usefully be taken as an emergency antidote to irritation or burning that may be caused by the accidental consumption of acrid plants in the buttercup family.

 Creative cooks can substitute mallow for spinach in many dishes, including soups, salads, gnocchi and quiche. I have even flash-fried larger mallow leaves for just one second in hot oil to make 'popadoms'. Mallow also makes a great addition to soups, whereby the mucilage helps to thicken them.

 In Jewish culture, mallow has been been considered the 'most important plant in local gather society'. Every spring mallow is gathered in the countryside. Its common name in both Hebrew and Arabic, translates to 'bread'. During the war of 1948, when Jerusalem was under siege, mallow was an important famine crop, and one that is still celebrated on Independence day every year with a traditional dish made from mallow leaves.

 Common mallow can be substituted for the family relative Corchorus olitorius aka 'jutes mallow', when making the Egyptian / Middle-eastern dish 'Molokhia'. This traditional dish is usually served with chicken.

 In China, mallow roots are a popular and a common ingredient in making hearty, yet medicinally potent soups and broths. The inulin-rich tap roots of a number of different mallow species, including common mallow, have been used.

 The seed pods can be substituted for most of the egg white if wanting to make mallow meringues. Simply boil up the peeled seed pods using 3 parts water 1 part seed pods, and reduce the liquid by half. For every half cup of liquid add one egg white, ¼ tsp of cream of tartar, some vanilla and castor sugar, then whip it up until foamy and stiff, just like meringues.

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