Attractive, two toned scarlet leaves with a distinctive spade shape. Succulent and tender as a babyleaf making a bright coloured leaf sprig ideal for food garnish. Flavour is a mild spinach, combining well with many other foods.
Orach was formerly cultivated for its edible leaves. It can be grown as a warm weather substitute for spinach.
Plants are fast-growing and usually self-sow quite freely if the surrounding soil is disturbed by hoeing etc. They tolerate hot weather well, but soon go to seed so successive sowings at 4 weekly intervals are required during the growing season if a continuous supply of leaves is required. Leaves can be harvested 40 - 60 days after sowing the seed.
Orach is a very easily grown plant, doing equally well in a wide variety of well-drained soils, though rich, moisture-retentive soils give the quick growth that is necessary for the production of tender leaves.
Plants require a position in full sun and are tolerant of saline and very alkaline soils. They thrive in any temperate climate, and are drought resistant.
This species is a poor companion plant for potatoes, inhibiting their growth when growing close to them.
Leaves - raw or cooked. Used like spinach, they have a bland flavour and are traditionally mixed with sorrel leaves in order to modify the acidity of the latter. Another report says that the flavour is stronger than spinach.
Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a meal and used in soups etc or be mixed with flour when making bread. The seed is said to be a good source of vitamin A.