Good King Henry

Good King Henry (Blitum bonus-henricus), also called Poor-man’s Asparagus, Perennial Goosefoot or Markery, is a species of goosefoot native to Europe. Grown as a vegetable in cottage gardens for hundreds of years, its leaves can be used as spinach, and its flowering shoots resemble sprouting broccoli or asparagus.

Growth and habit: a perennial plant that continuously produces foliage and flowering shoots from a clumping root from spring through late autumn, dying down and dormant through winter. Propagation is by a slow spread as a clumping plant; it may also self-seed if the winter is cold enough. Can be carefully dug up and divided every few years.

Harvest: young leaves and shoots, a few at a time, late spring to mid-autumn. Do not over-harvest. Larger outer leaves can be slightly bitter, so leave those on the plant to help it regenerate.

Uses: mild, slightly nutty spinach flavour; use leaves as you would spinach, e.g. raw in salads or wilted/steamed. Shoots can be cooked like wild asparagus or sprouting broccoli.

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