Do you have a taste for something exotic? Need a new vegetable to spice up your kitchen? The Caribbean Garden Seed Company is an exciting non-GMO, certified organic nursery that provides unique vegetable seeds. Their selections focus primarily on Caribbean foods and there is also a large selection of pepper seeds.
Some of their thrilling selections might be Jamaican Callaloo, also called Chinese spinach, the main ingredient in a dish by the same name that is beloved in West Africa but has versions in many tropical countries. Another is Komatsuna, or Japanese mustard spinach. It really isn’t in the spinach family, but this heat and cold tolerant green can be used in the same way. In Japan, the vegetable is traditionally salt pickled but leaves, stems and shoots are also often added to stir fry. It grows quickly and is a great way to add zing to many types of cuisine.
Caribbean food features many types of greens. Spinach look-alikes or stand-ins are very popular in the regional diet. Egyptian spinach is another fast-growing green. Also called Molokia, the vegetable was dubbed “The Food of Kings” because a broth made of the greens was said to cure illness in his royal person. It is now part of a modern soup made with lamb, beef or duck. Another spinach doppelganger is Malabar spinach. It holds up better than spinach in cooking and, when raw, provides a peppery citrus flavor to salads. The Red Malabar variety is especially pretty with red stems and deeply purple flowers. You probably recognize the deeply notched leaves of Mizuna from wild and baby greens mixtures. These mustard greens have a mild flavor and are eaten either raw or cooked.
Many types of cabbage also star in Caribbean cuisine. Caribbean Seed Company has several selections of seed but a couple are real stand-outs. Tokyo Bekana is a miniature bunching cabbage. Great in stir fry, soup and stews, the leaves are delicate and similar in texture to a butter lettuce, while the creamy white stems have a gentle crunch. Yukina Savoy is a crinkle leaved savoy style cabbage. This is a leaf cabbage also with spoon-shaped foliage and slender stems. Yukina is another cool season vegetable that can withstand heat. There are also classic Asian cabbages like bok choy, a quick-growing veggie that stars in both raw and cooked preparations.
The Caribbean Garden Seed Company has many more exotic tastes for you to grow as well as spices from the region, tropical plants, bulbs and rhizomes, and even tree and shrub seeds. They also have a large variety of peas and legumes, another Caribbean staple. Pigeon peas are a treat you can grow at home and one you don’t have to travel to the West Indies to enjoy. A classic presentation is one where the peas are cooked in coconut and served with rice. While you are at it, why not try growing some of the ancient grains? These are filled with nutrition and often have a surprisingly high protein content. Many species of amaranth, chia and even sesame seeds are available. You can even grow your own rice!
These unique vegetables and plants enjoy the hot, dry weather of summer, but there is also a wide selection of plants that thrive in temperate regions, so gardeners in many regions can enjoy a taste of the Caribbean. The company has an easy order process and free shipping on orders over $50. Check out their site and see what amazing and unique veggies you can grow this season.