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Callaloo, Its Growth And Development
Callaloo, Its Growth And Development

Introduction

Welcome to the Callaloo web site. Here you will find growing information, variety information, grower's profiles, links to other related web sites, seed sources and pictures . My hope is that this web site will grow with your response. There will be many chances for you to include your experiences and pictures .

General information

Callaloo is a vegetable plant that is grown for its leaves. The plant produces large delicious green leaves, the stems are also edible. There seem to be be many different varities of Callaloo. Callaloo is a variety of Amaranth. It is technically called Amaranth Tricolor or Amaranth Gangeticus. Some varieties of Amaranth are grown for seed production, Amaranthus Cruentus and Amaranthus Hypochondiacus are examples. See the link below for a page on Amaranths grown for grain. In many cases the leaves of these plants can also be eaten. Some species are grown for ornamentation like, Love Lies Bleeding and Josephs Coat. You may find Amaranths grown for their leaves, under many different names; Shen Choy, Chinese Spinach, Indian Spinach, Hin Choy, Bush Greens and many other names. If you know of others please let me know.

Did you say , Why Callaloo ?

For those who like nutritious greens , Callaloo is a good choice. The leaves of the Callaloo are very delicious when cooked. The leaves are similar in flavor to a cross between spinach, collards and swiss chard. These leaves also contain protein. The plant grows quickly, reaching maturity in 30 -40 days. It can grow up to 6-7 feet tall. The Callaloo plant grows well even in poor soil. It is a good susbstitute for spinach because it likes hot weather and flourishes in the summer heat.

Growing Information

Callaloo seems, based on my experience, to be a sun loving plant. This year, (2000) , was my first year growing Callaloo. I got the seeds from a Jamaican store owner, Eric , who in turn got the from a friend's garden. I tried to start the plants early inside my house. I put some of the seeds in a small flat filled with potting soil and pearlite. They grew to 1 to 2 inches, formed their first set of leave but even after 30 days they did not grow or form their second set of leaves. This spring I put that flat outside in the spring sun, put some more seeds in it and the plants germinated and formed their first set of leaves and continued to develop normally. From that experience I learned that these plants need full sun before they can develop.

Space Needed

I started these plants in a small flat. The plants grew well in the flat. The plants in the flat had little room to develop. I separated the plants carefully but the roots were entangled, I am sure I tore some roots off accidentally but even with that, they survived and flourished. I think it would be good to transplant the plants after they have developed 8 to 10 leaves. Put them in the ground with lime and fertilizer or in a large container maybe 3-4 in a 5 gallon container. I used the time released fertilizer. Use only a moderate amount as these plants use the fertilizer efficiently and too much will make the leaves tough. The plant seems to have a size recognition system. The plant forms a primary root ball then, at a certain time, it sends down one or two roots to determine the depth of its environment and a second root ball is formed. This is what I observed in my garden The plants rate of growth and size could be determined by this process, so let your plants develop in the flat until they are strong enough to be transplanted and get the plants into the ground or 3-4 in a 5 gallon container (3-4 so the will be able to absorb the water, after a while separate the larger plants in to individual pots 3-5 gallons ( I have not determined that ).

Methods of Propagation

The Callaloo plant can be grown from seeds. See the links below for some seed sources. However it is confusing with all of the varieties ( ornamental, grain and those raised for greens ), if you would like some of my seeds please send a self addressed stamped envelope with 2$ and I will send you some. My address is, Marcellus Kitchens, 2314 Wingfoot Place, Decatur Georgia , 30035.

Another way to get seeds is to go to the store, buy the Callaloo plants that are sold for food and get your seed from the seed head of the plant, if it has one. I have also been told that you can raise plants from cuttings. I tried to raise a plant from a stalk cutting but it did not work from me although the stalk did begin to take root. If someone out their knows how to to start a plant from cuttings please let me know.

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These are some links on growing edible Amaranths

Links to Sources for Amaranth Seeds.

Cooking Callaloo

I have enjoyed cooking Callaloo. I usually saute the Callaloo. My recipe begins with oil in a frying pan. I am a vegetarian so I usually use TVP ( textured vegetable protien). I take the large size beef flavored chunks and place them in a microwave safe dish with water ( enough to cover the TVP) I usually rehydrate only a handful at a time. The TVP should be cooked in the microwave for 4-5 minutes, on high, this is a quick way to hydrate the TVP. If you do not have a microwave place the TVP is a bowl a water and let it set for an hour or more . After the TVP is hydrated put it in the frying pan. Saute it until you see it brown a little. I even go as far as blackening it a little ( you may not want to go that far), at this time you could also saute and brown some nuts (like sunflower, pinenuts, pecans, or walnuts ). For those who prefer meat saute your lamb, beef,or chicken at this time ( I will assume you know how to cook your meat, generally, however, browning it at this point and cooking it with the Callaloo should work.) I like to put in some sliced and pealed yautia or (malanga) if this is not available use a potato, no more than 9 to 10 small slices. Next add your 1/4 cup of fresh red bell pepper.. For your vegetables , cut the Callaloo use the stem also but do not use the stem below one inch from the leaf until you experiment with stripping the tough exterior from the stem and stalk (the Callaloo stalk is very good when properly prepared) . The Callaloo stalk taste like the stalk of the broccoli plant. Callaloo seems to go well with broccoli. I cut up some broccoli with Callaloo or I use the broccoli slaw ( sold in many stores). Most of the mixture should be Callaloo. Fill the pan with greens and broccoli until you barely can put the lid on. Add 2 cups of water, two cap fulls of soy sauce, 3 or four shakes of thyme and two to three tablespoons of tahini (sesame seed butter ). I am using a 12 inch frying pan. if you are using a different size pan , make your adjustments accordingly . Cover the pan and let it cook until the water is almost gone then add another cup of water and cook until the water is almost gone. Repeat the last step one more time, however, use 1 and 1/4 cup of water , because you want to leave a little more moisture is the pan when you stop cookng it . Now add maybe a tablespoon of butter let the butter melt and stir and make sure that the tahini has disolved evenly in the pan ( break it up with your spoon or fork, if it has not, and stir it in to the mixture). Taste the mixture at this point to see if you want to add some more soy sauce or thyme or seasoning of you choice. Put the lid on the pan and cook until you feel there is just the right amount of moisture left in the pan. Callaloo... Come and get it !

This recipe can be changed in many dfifferent ways but I would recommend that you try it it way it is above because it really gives you a chance to taste the subtle buttery delicate flavor of the Callaloo. I would refrain from grabbing some Callaloo and just boiling it with out tasting how good it can be. The pan steam and fry method used in this recipe should maintain most of the nutients and the multiple steaming should give you excellent results ( texture and flavor).

If anyone out there has a recipe please email it to me if you think it is great.

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here are some links to Callaloo recipes.

Links to Callaloo Recipes

Additional Information needed

I hope you have enjoyed this web site. There are some things I would like to include in the future, with your help. First I would like pictures of the Callaloo plant in all the major stages of its development. I would like close up pictures of the seed head and the mature seed. I would like pictures of home gardeners and farmers with their Callaloo proudly displayed. What I will need is to have pictures attached to email so I can put them on the this site or maybe placed on a picture file site so I can put them on this site. I am not working with a computer now or a scanner so help with the pictures would be great. I would like input from farmers telling what works best for them when they grow Callaloo. I would like to be part of making Callaloo avaiable in the U.S every month of the year either in its fresh form, or prepared (cooked) and frozen by some of the chefs who know and love it. When I first started looking for Callaloo, I could only find sources for seeds or information or fresh Callaloo on the internet but once I knew what to look for I found sources for those things here in my home town, Atlanta. I will be listing the sources I found in Atlanta. In the future, maybe, the same thing could be done for most major cities, with your help. I would like info on how different cultures use the edible Amaranths including recipes and pictures. If you have any ideas or want to send pictures or information, let me know.


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