Francois Syrian Molokhia

Corchorus olitorius

Grown by: Bear Bottom Farm in Dillwyn, VA

  • $4.00


Molokhia is a beloved green is rich in vitamins and minerals and eaten like spinach in the Middle East, North Africa, and East Africa. It is usually eaten chopped up in a soup or stew, adding thickness to the broth. It is mucilaginous like its mallow-family cousin, okra. It is also known as Egyptian Spinach, Jew’s Mallow, Jute, and Okra Leaf, and used as a fiber for making twine, rope, and rugs.

This variety was grown by Mason and Wiley at Bear Bottom Farm from seed that came from Mason's Syrian grandfather, Francois Moussalli. Mr. Moussalli came to the US via Egypt, and grew this molokhia for the family for many decades. His grandchildren rescued his seeds from 15 years of storage in the freezer, and now a couple of them keep this family heirloom alive. Bear Bottom Farm says this variety does quite well in clay, with little irrigation and that it "loves loves loves" heat. Francois passed away on February 4, 2018, and lived a full, interesting life. Read his obituary here. Carry on his legacy and grow his molokhia!

Francois's sister in-law, Linda prepares this vegetable by chopping it "very fine, do you hear me? VERY FINE! OK." Then cooking it in chicken stock with rice and lemon juice. The acid from the lemon cuts the silky texture a bit. 

Mony, a new friend to Truelove Seeds who also came to the US from Egypt, recently cooked us a soup of the Molokhia greens, “chopped for 10 hours” (really maybe 30 minutes - minced very fine). It also includes a paste of garlic, cumin, and coriander, as well as sautéed onions and a vegetable broth with added allspice, bay leaves, cardamom, and petrified lemon.

Days to maturity: 70

Seeds per pack: 140

Planting / harvesting notes

Sow seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last frost. Plant outdoors in warm, fertile, well-drained soil 2-3 weeks after the last frost. This plant grows quickly and loves heat and will get much larger if irrigated, though it is not necessary. In cooler climates, molokhia grows faster and larger with the protection of high tunnels or greenhouses. This was true for Truelove Seeds in Pennsylvania (Zone 7). We can grow it outside just fine, but in the hoop house: BOOM! When the plant gets at least 2 feet tall, begin harvesting the branches (~6" lengths) to encourage more growth for continual harvest.

Seed keeping notes

Allow the seed pods to dry out naturally on the plant. Harvest the pods and remove the angular, blue-green seeds. Allow the seeds to dry on paper away from direct sunlight. Store in paper envelopes, within a container, in a cool, dry location.

Additional search terms: Mulukhiyah, mloukhiya, molokhia, molokhiya, mulukhiyya, malukhiyah, moroheiya, saluyot

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