AIZOACEAE, The Ice Plant family
A friend gave me a few starts of this old favorite of mine that I had forgotten. In Minnesota, where the weather seems to go from being frigid to boiling in a matter of days, spinach was a tricky thing to grow. All those cool weather crops that like lingering, cool-but-not-freezing days don’t have much of a window. But this plant, not really a spinach but a succulent ice-plant relative, thrives in hot weather. It can grow in poor or salty soil as long as it gets enough water… and it might be hardy in Portland.
It’s kind of a sprawling thing, with 1 – 2 inch leaves that can be harvested all summer. The stems get woody but it keeps sending out new leaves if you keep picking them. When I grew this in Minnesota, I was eating every different kind of sautÃ©ed veggies with pasta. My family’s favorite variation was nutty greens such as New Zealand spinach sautÃ©ed in olive oil with cherry tomatoes, walnuts and cubes of feta cheese over bow-tie pasta.