Get these leafy greens onto your plate

These leafy vegetables look a little different, taste different and have unheard names such as
Tadaka Dobbudu
,
Gunugu Koora
,
Adavi Soya Koora
,
Elaka Chevula
Koora
and a host of similar names. “They have a unique taste. They are cooked like vegetables or as
khichdi
,” says G. Bhargavi pointing to
Jonnachenchali Koora
, which has leaves slightly bigger than
Thota Koora
(Amaranthus).

Dubbed the Festival of Uncultivated Food Plants at a rustic cafe at Tellapur, the goal is to popularise the uncultivated vegetables. “These are seen as weeds that grow along with foxtail millets. When we asked the people why don’t they remove them, they told us that they eat them. Surprised, we sent samples to the National Institute of Nutrition for testing. The analysis revealed that the nutrients are often higher than the most commonly consumed greens in India,” informed Ms. Bhargavi, who is working on plant nutrition.

Native wisdom

The festival has brought to the fore the folk knowledge and native wisdom as the dishes cooked with these uncultivated crops have higher nutritional value than even spinach.
Elaka Chevula Koora
has 97 mg of iron in comparison to 58 mg in spinach, and it has 14.3 grams of protein in comparison to one gm in spinach. In addition, these uncultivated vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals.

The hardy plants grow between the millet crops and have no extra needs. “They are rich in antioxidants and falvinoids and that’s why pests also avoid them. They are also used as fodder by the community,” says Shailaja, a plant technologist. As pests avoid these plants, they are not treated with pesticides.

Balancing act

“This is an initiative of The Disha Consumer Movement and Deccan Development Society. These plants are a part of the balancing act that the nature does as they have high nutritional value. We have identified 40 such uncultivated greens,” saud P.V. Satheesh of DDS.

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