by Linda C Butler
I was looking through Parks Seeds and was surprised to see the plant “Strawberry Spinach”. This is a plant that grows wild in Northern Manitoba, although it is usually much smaller than the seed catalog picture. I had no idea that the plant was edible. I always called it “Indian Paint” and when I was a little girl I used to squish the berries in my fingers and rub my fingers on rocks and pretend to paint.
Neighbors, where we have our cabin in Manitoba, have a patch of this plant near their doorway and it is very attractive. They water and tend the patch and of course these plants grow much larger than the uncared for wild ones.
Wikipedia describes the plant:
Strawberry Blite (Blitum capitatum) is an edible annual plant, also known as Blite Goosefoot, Strawberry Goosefoot, Strawberry Spinach, Indian Paint and Indian Ink. It is native to most of North America throughout the United States and Canada, including northern areas.
Flowers are small, pulpy, bright red and edible, resembling strawberries. The juice from the flowers was also used as a red dye by natives. The fruits contain small, black, lense-shaped seeds that are 0.7-1.2 mm long. The greens are edible raw or as a potherb, but if raw should be eaten in moderation as they contain oxalates. The seeds may be toxic in large amounts.
It is nice to identify a plant that I have been so familiar with and I look forward to tasting it this summer.