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Natal plums have a bright red outer skin and flesh and are somewhat tapered or pointed at one end. Both the stems and fruit of the Natal plum will release flecks of milky white sap when cut. The Natal plum has a sweet and sour flavor, while offering a juicy consistency. Its branches and leaves are vivid green in color with white flowers and numerous double pronged thorns, a good identifier when foraging for the Natal plum shrub. The taste of the Natal plum has also been compared to the tart flavor of the cranberry.
Wild Natal plums first appear in the summer and can grow throughout the winter in warmer climates.
The Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa) is a member of the Dogbane or Apocynaceae family. A relative of the poisonous Oleander, the stems and leaves of the Natal plum are toxic and should never be consumed. The fruit of the Natal plum shrub is the only edible part of the plant.
Natal plum fruit contains vitamin A and B and are extremely high in vitamin C, charting even higher in the nutrient than citrus fruits.
Similarly to figs Natal plums contain an edible latex which is released when they are cooked, be sure not to use aluminum pans when cooking them as the latex will stick to the pan. Natal plums can be eaten fresh out of hand or sliced and added to salads. Combine with herbs and Indian spices to make pickles. Cook down to make jams, sauces, soup, chutney and pie filling.
Natal plums are native to Natal, South Africa, but can be found growing wild in California, Hawaii and Florida. In South Africa the fruits are often referred to as num-num and in India they are commonly called Karonda or Corinda. In many areas the Natal plum is used as a hedge plant both for its fragrant white blossoms and as security which is provided by its dense foliage and large thorns.
Recipes that include Natal Plums. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Vegetarian Tastebuds||Karonda Murabba / Natal Plum Sweet Preserve|
|Dee’s Kitchen||Karonde Ka Achaar (Natal Plum Pickle)|
|The Culinary Linguist||Amatungulu Jam|