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arroche des jardins

garden orache

Arroche des jardins - Atriplex hortensis

Atriplex hortensis. Before spinach took over, arroche (known in England as orache, mountain spinach or French spinach) was grown throughout the Mediterranean; it was one of the first vegetables cultivated by the ancient Greeks. It has a similar taste to spinach and tolerates heat better without bolting; the young leaves can be eaten raw, while the older ones are better cooked.

It was planted in most gardens in medieval Europe, then naturalized in the Americas, and has red, white and green leaves (that turn green when it’s cooked). But in the 18th century, spinach became more popular and orache was forgotten, although it’s very rich in vitamins C and K and minerals of all sorts, notably potassium; some call it a super food. You can buy seeds for it in France, but you’ll seldom see it in the markets.

Other French names for it include arroche cultivée, arronse, belle-dame, bonne-dame, chou d'amour, épinard géant, érode, faux épinard, or folette.


Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Idéalités