Malabar spinach is actually not spinach at all and it doesn’t taste much like spinach at all. When it’s raw Malabar spinach has very fleshy, thick leaves that are juicy and crisp with tastes of citrus and pepper.
When cooked, though, Malabar spinach does look and taste a lot more like regular spinach. It doesn’t wilt as fast, though, and it holds up better in soups and stir-fries. Use it in recipes like you would any other green raw or cooked. Be prepared for it’s gelatinous juices that are similar to okra.
Malabar is a very vigorous vine that will not even start growing until the temperatures are in the 80’s. You can start it from seed and grow it in full sun with moderate fertility and a little extra water. If you grow this vine when the weather is hot you will be rewarded with beautiful red stems and green heart shaped leaves that produce pink flowers and purple berries into late summer and early fall. The fact is this garden beauty is as pretty to look at as it is to eat. You will need a tall strong trellis to contain this vine, but I have never had any pest or disease problems with malabar. The one thing that you will have is an abundance of seedlings the next summer at the spot where it has been growing, so once you have it you will never have to buy it again that could be a blessing or a curse.