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The leaves of Moroheiga are ovate in shape and toothed around their perimeter. Moroheiga are vivid dark green in color and have a mild, earthy flavor. They bloom yellow hermaphroditic flowers which are pollinated by bees. When cooked the consistency of the leaves will become slimy and sticky, similar to that of cooked okra.
Moroheiga is available in the summer lasting through the early fall months.
Moroheiga, also known as Jew's Mallow, Moroheiya, Mulukhiya, Bush okra and Egyptian spinach is an annual pot herb and a member of the Tiliaceae family. In addition to its edible leaves the stems of Moroheiga are utilized to create natural fibers for paper, packaging and textiles. Moroheiga is also now being made into a powder and used to make highly nutritious vegetarian noodles.
Having nearly twice the amount of beta-carotene than that of spinach Moroheiga can aid in the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, such as myocardial infarction and arteriosclerosis. The slimy texture of Moroheiga is a result of mucin which can protect the membranes of the stomach and help prevent indigestion. They also contain protein, vitamin E, vitamin C, plenty of calcium and the flavonoid quercetin. Their fruits are inedible because they contain the aglycone cardioactive agent, strophanthidin that can cause dizziness, vomiting, palpitations and eventually death.
As a result of their slimy nature when cooked both fresh and dried leaves of Moroheiga are used as a thickener in soups and stews. In Japan, they are often used in Ohitashi (dipped in soy sauce), tempura, stir-fries and marinated dishes with ponzu sauce and dried bonito flakes. Choose Moroheiga with vivid dark green color and stems that are not too thick since thick stems of Moroheiga are too fibrous to eat. For short-term storing, wrap them in moistened paper towels, put them in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. For long term storing, they can be parboiled and frozen for future use.
The name, Moroheiga means “royal vegetable” in Arabic because Moroheiga soup is said to at one point healed the ailing king. Additionally, for some time the king was the only person who was allowed to eat Moroheiga in ancient Egypt.
Moroheiga is native to Egypt where it has been used since ancient times. Moroheiga was additionally enjoyed throughout the Levantine countries, Africa and Japan. Kasuke Imori introduced Moroheiga to Japan and Japanese farmers have been harvesting Moroheiga since the 1980s. It is harvested in Gunma prefecture, Aichi prefecture and Mie prefecture.
Recipes that include Moroheiga. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Echigo Farm||Egyptian style Moroheiya|
|The Spunky Veggie||Molokhia Soup|