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Manglewurzel? Mangle-wurzel and Huauzontle

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  • Manglewurzel? Mangle-wurzel and Huauzontle

    Any plants with names like this must be worth growing.
    Imagine just slipping the word into the conversation at a dinner party. "His mangle-wurzels are humungous."
    "How are your Mangle-wurzels coping with the hot weather Bruce?" or "I think his Mangle-wurzels were going to seed!" or "Tasmanians' always boast that their Mangle-wurzels are the biggest!"
    Definitely a plant to dine out on.
    I was lucky enough to catch the A(Oz)BC Garden Show tonight with a segment on Mangle-wurzels and Huauzontle

    Mangle-wurzel at my table

    It’s quite surprising that a nation that consumes so much beetroot and silverbeet hasn’t yet discovered the mangel-wurzel, a relative that combines both vegies in one plant.
    The three vegetables share the same botanic name – Beta vulgaris – and belong to the saltbush family, Chenopodiaceae
    . . .
    With its large, egg-shaped roots and edible leaves, mangel-wurzel is a very productive and useful cool-season crop and an excellent addition to our tables..
    . . .
    Inquisitive beetroot addicts who give this rustic crop a try will undoubtedly fall in love with it. The orange-skinned, sweet-tasting roots can be peeled and shredded for salads, pickled, or juiced with other vegetables. Diced and boiled, they become tender and are good mashed.

    Presenter: Jerry Coleby-Williams, 11/04/2009


    Mangle-wurzel is a 'dual-purpose' vegetable because both the roots and the leaves are edible.
    It's sometimes known as the 'Yellowbeet', the 'Mangold' the 'Mangold-wurzel' or the 'Manglebeet.' It's closely related to beetroot, silverbeet and sugarbeet, and they all share the same scientific name, Beta vulgaris.

    • History: In the 18th century, mangle-wurzel was grown as stock fodder, but by the 20th century it was widely used in the kitchen.

    • Culinary: Jerry says, "The leaves can be used in exactly the same way as silverbeet. And the roots have an earthy, crunchy flavour just like beetroot. You can grate them and use them in salads like coleslaw or you can juice them. You can also boil them and serve them just like beetroot." Jerry recommends that "diabetics should be aware that mangle-wurzel has high sugar content."

    • Storage: Mangle-wurzel stores exactly the same as beetroot. Simply wash the roots, remove the leaves and when it’s dry, put it into a plastic bag it will store for about six weeks in the crisper. Jerry says, "I find the easiest way to store them is in the ground and the bonus is I can carry on picking the leaves."

    • Sowing: In the sub-tropics, sow the seed in late summer or early autumn – whenever the nights start to become cool. In temperate zones, sow them in spring, after the last frosts.
    A VERY weird site ... index.html
    In ancient times, people occasionally ate the thin little root of the wild sea beet, which grew along Europe's Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts.
    In Germany, this sad little plant was coaxed into growing a somewhat longer, although still skinny root, yellow in color, that was fit for animal feed. It's German name, "mangoldwurzel" was soon corrupted by popular wit into "manglewurzel," (or "root to eat if you are starving").
    The beet didn't start to swell into a round shape until the 1500's and didn't become red until the 1600's. It's been improved a lot since then and is today an under appreciated jewel. (looks suspiciously like beetroot to me)

    Some seem to get quite carried away by them. Could D.H. Lawrence or James Joyce do better than this?:-
    Mangel Wurzel by OldhaMedia.

    "The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.

    Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.

    The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip...

    The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails to the grounded moon-boat stitched to with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.

    The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.
    In Europe there is ground widely a large beet they call the mangel-wurzel. Perhaps it is mangel-wurzel that we see in Rasputin. Certainly there is mangel-wurzel in the music of Wagner, although it is another composer whose name begins, B-e-e-t----.

    “Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English). ...
    In popular culture

    The mangelwurzel has a history in England of being used for sport (mangold hurling), for celebration (mangold lanterns at punkie night in Somerset), for animal fodder and for the brewing of a potent alcoholic beverage.

    A mangelwurzel hurling championship was revived in the north Wiltshire village of Sherston on October 7, 2006. Teams of three hurled mangelwurzels in turn, aiming to be the closest to a large leafless mangelwurzel known as 'the Norman'.

    It is also the source of the name for the English folk/pop/comedy musical group The Wurzels.

    Most city-dwellers in England have only the vaguest idea of what a mangelwurzel is, and tend to associate the vegetable with the stereotypical country bumpkin character in comedy. The word is even used as a double-entendre, for example by the character Rambling Syd Rumpo (Kenneth Williams). As usual, some entertainers from country towns embrace the stereotype, as above.

    The first encounter with the mangelwurzel for many children may well be through the book "Muddle Earth" (2003) by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, in which the mangelwurzel is the staple diet of the trolls. It also appears in George Orwell's "Animal Farm", in the fourth stanza of the ballad "Beasts of England."

    The mangelwurzel was mentioned prominently in the book Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.

    It also makes frequent appearances as a sheep's treat in the sheep detective novel "Three Bags Full" by Leonie Swann.

    Mangelwurzel is given as a genus of a scarecrow in the children's programme Worzel Gummidge.
    (Jitterbug Perfume really talks about beetroot-that is a weird book too)
    This just gets stranger;
    definitely an invention by Monty Python!

    Mangelwurzel Throwing and other Strange Games with food ... chive.html
    Mangelwurzel Throwing: A traditional Somerset game that requires skill, strength and cunning. Mangold Hurling has a well developed set of rules.
    An Oz seed source?
    A pity their sign in form does not work so I couldn't check. Yes it does, they just use the Yank date system --why?
    After all that kerfuffle I couldn't find Mangle-wurzel. A fascinating catalogue nevertheless.

    Most of the Chenopodiums I know are weeds, (some medicinal)or chook food, so this stuff has to be easy to grow.


    Jerry grows huauzontle with his corn. "Both these plants are native to the Americas, and they’re companion plants. The huauzontle is living mulch. It suppresses weeds and in turn, the corn shades the huauzontle, producing a wonderful, soft succulent spinach alternative."

    Huauzontle (Chenopodium berlandieri) is a member of the saltbush family. Other saltbush relatives that have been grown as reliable spinach alternatives include Fat Hen and Mountain Spinach, which are northern Europe's equivalent of the American huauzontle. They're ancient, nutritious, productive plants.

    • Sowing: If you live in a temperate zone sow after the last frost. In the sub-tropics however, it will grow all year. Huauzontle seed is very fine. Take a pinch and broadcast it all around the prepared area and water it in. Jerry says, "It doesn’t need any compost or food and within a few weeks you’re going to have lovely, delicious spinach greens."

    • Harvesting: Jerry's plants are only seven weeks old and are ready for harvest.

    • Culinary: Everything apart from the roots and the stems is edible. The roots and stems are too fibrous. Steam the leaves for a minute to remove oxalates and saponins. Jerry says, "It makes a fantastic spinach curry. Seed heads can be dipped in batter and fried. That's a Mexican delicacy and the seeds can be saved and made into flour. In fact, it makes one of the original gluten free breads."

    • Where to buy: As with the mangle-wurzel, look for seeds at heritage seed suppliers.

    HUAUZONTLE Chenopodium berlandieri
    Pronounced [wah-ZONT-lay] - This long-stemmed green is eaten in Mexican cuisine. Only the flower buds not the larger leaves are eaten and the taste is similar to broccoli. Typically the greens are boiled, drained, batter-dipped then pan fried encasing cheese like a chile relleno. This dish is called Tortas de Hauzontles.
    Ingredient Substitutions
    Huauzontle con Cebollas y Comino
    More Links To Recipes and Information
    View more recipes and information

    Huauzontle - Red Aztec Spinach
    (Chenopodium nuttalliae, Chenopodium berlandieri ssp. nuttaliae)

    Domesticated chenopodium from Mexico, similar to Lamb's Quarter (chenopodium album), except for the red color it takes in fall. Flower buds are harvested and cooked like spinach or broccoli, and often fried in batter. Nice, pleasant taste. Still, the plant looks very much like the wild growing Lamb's Quarter, so you might as well save garden space by picking up the wild Lamb's Quarter growing everywhere! For the aficionados of obscure mexican food. Tall, large plant that can reach 1,5 m and more.
    Packet of 100 seeds: $1,99

    Links: recipe

    Related to quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), seeds are edible. Looks very much like the wild growing weed known as "lamb's quarter" except that the plant takes on a red hue at the end of the summer.
    (A fascinating Canadian on-line catalogue.
    Can you import corn seeds into Oz?)

    Huauzontle growing at the UMass Research Farm in June 2008. (Photo by Krsytian Madrid)

    Huauzontle is an herb native to Mexico and has a very similar look and growth to lambsquarters (Chenopodium album), a very common weed in the Northeastern United States. It is grown for its seed heads which are used in several traditional recipes.

    It is grown for its seed heads which are used in several in several traditional recipes. It is one of the favorite greens of author Diana Kennedy (author of many cook books on Mexican cuisine), where she likes it for .. “its intense green flavor and interesting texture.”

    Two seed sources of huauzontle were evaluated at the UMass Research Farm in 2008. The plants grew well, but the inflorescence did not readily form the thick seed heads desired by this market. This could be due to longer days here in Massachusetts.

    Huauzontle for sale at a wholesale market in Morelia Mexico in 2007 (Photo by Frank Mangan)

    In the Northeastern United States, it is best to start Huauzontle in a greenhouse and transplant out into the field after the danger of frost.

    Does anyone have any experience of using, growing, eating, playing with, tossing, carving or any other strange practices with either of these plants?
    A recipe or two would be nice.
    "You can fix all the world's problems in a garden. .Most people don't know that"
    Music can solve all the world's problems. Not many people know that- MA 2005
    "Politicians will never solve 'The Problem' because they don't realise that they are the problem" R Parsons 2001

  • #2
    Re: Manglewurzel? Mangle-wurzel and Huauzontle

    I could not find and Aussie source for seeds of Huanzontle, can anyone help.


    • #3
      Re: Manglewurzel? Mangle-wurzel and Huauzontle

      Originally posted by gardenaholic
      I could not find and Aussie source for seeds of Huanzontle, can anyone help.
      "You can fix all the world's problems in a garden. .Most people don't know that"
      Music can solve all the world's problems. Not many people know that- MA 2005
      "Politicians will never solve 'The Problem' because they don't realise that they are the problem" R Parsons 2001


      • #4
        Re: Manglewurzel? Mangle-wurzel and Huauzontle

        If you are looking for Huauzontle seeds, try Eden Seeds in Lower Beechmont. I bought some Red Aztec Spinach seeds from them and I am confident it's the same plant.
        I have also been growing some Mangle beets from them too, and believe me Carolyns Mangle-werzels are Humongous.
        Seriously, if you need some really great permie plant seeds, these guys are the go. Good Luck. Carolyn