6 incredible plants you might not have heard of
All over the world local varieties of fruit, vegetables and grain are grown. Many are seemingly forgotten or are underutilized despite having outstanding nutritional or taste qualities. Some have good commercial potential and could be an excellent cash crop for a smallscale or family farmers, aimed at the local, regional or international market.
Here are six traditional crops and six facts about them which might amaze you:
Amaranth leaves are usually picked fresh for use as greens in salads or blanched, steamed, boiled, fried in oil, and mixed with meat, fish, cucurbit seeds, groundnut or palm oil. It is gluten free and good for cardiovascular diseases, stomach ache and anaemia.
Moringa leaves are rich in protein, vitamins A, B and C, and minerals – highly recommended for pregnant and nursing mothers as well as young children.
Teff grains are white, mixed or red, with the white fetching the highest and red the lowest price. Teff accounts for about two-third of the daily protein intake in the Ethiopian diet and is mainly used for making different kinds of enjera (pancake-like flat bread), porridge and feed.
Cultivated finger millet was domesticated about 5 000 years ago from the wild subspecies in the highlands that range from Ethiopia to Uganda. It can be stored for up to two years without harmful pesticides, acting as a food reserve during the lean season.
Bambara groundnut is known as a “complete food” as the seeds contain on average 63% carbohydrate, 19% protein and 6.5% fat, making it a very important source of dietary protein. It is a grain legume grown mainly by subsistence farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
In different parts of Africa, the roots and fruits of the African garden eggplant are used as a sedative, and to treat colic and high blood pressure while the juice obtained by macerating the leaves is used to treat uterine complaints. Also, the extract of the leaves is used as a sedative and anti-emetic and to treat tetanus associated with miscarriages.
If you’re ever in the mood to try something new, the good news is that there is certainly food you haven’t tasted before. Learn how to prepare tasty meals with each of these six crops by clicking here: