Heard of 'Kangkong', the powerhouse of nutrients?
Kangkong spinach or water spinach is a rich source of various vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. This leafy green is often unnoticed as it grows in marshlands and water puddles in tropical countries.
The plant is also known by various names like river spinach, Chinese watercress, swamp cabbage and Chinese spinach. It quickly grows and reaches to a height of one feet normally and upto two feet if given a support.
Kangkong is a plant that loves moisture. It tastes like pepper and is often put for sale in vegetable markets. There are two types of kangkong; one with green stems and long sharp leaves, and the other with white stems and round wide leaves. The white-stemmed one is commonly found in Kerala, but many people think it is a weed.
Kangkong can be cultivated by sowing seeds or planting stem cuttings in grow bags or flowerpots. Healthy stem cuttings can be collected from the plants growing in marshlands or fields. The plant needs moisture always. A flat basin or bucket can be an ideal platform to grow kangkong.
While cultivating in flowerpots, two pots are used sometimes. The small pot is filled with potting mix and saplings are planted. This pot is placed in the larger pot filled with water to ensure moisture all the time. This should be changed from time to time. Only organic fertilizers are required for kangkong. Leaves can be harvested every 15-20 days.
Tender stems and leaves are edible. It can be consumed raw or cooked. It is used to make various food items like salad, stew and soup. The nutrients in kangkong is almost equal to milk, banana and orange. It is able to reduce blood pressure, gives immunity to cancer, improve vision, boost immunity and treat skin diseases. It is also a good cattle feed.
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