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 comes from our friend Anan Jardali Zahr. Anan has given me seeds from her homeland of Palestine, including this Molokhia (or Mlukhiyie, as she calls it). When she later came to harvest the greens at our farm with her husband George, she told me our plants are much taller than how they’d be in Palestine, perhaps because of our increased precipitation, and perhaps because we have not been steadily harvesting it for greens since we are growing it for seed. Anan and I met at an event in the Culinary Literacy Center at the Free Library of Philadelphia. We were co-presenting about Sumac and Za'atar, but really I played a minor supportive role as she led a terrific cooking workshop in the teaching kitchen. She had a Mediterranean restaurant for many years and is a passionate chef focused on Palestinian cuisine as well as a dedicated community activist on local and national issues. She removes the Mlukhiyie leaves and freezes them for the winter, since the leaves do not dry down as well in Pennsylvania as they would in Palestine or the Central Valley of California where she grew up working as a young farm worker in the time of Cesar Chavez. Thank you Anan and George!
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