Atriplex hortensis, also known as Garden Orache, Red Orach, Mountain Spinach, French Spinach, or simply "orache" or arrach, is a hardy, annual plant, with an erect, branching stem, varying in height from two to six feet, according to the variety and soil. The leaves are variously shaped, but somewhat oblong, comparatively thin in texture, and slightly acidic to the taste, the flowers are small and obscure, greenish or reddish, corresponding in a degree with the color of the foliage of the plant; the seeds are small, black, and surrounded with a thin, pale-yellow membrane. They retain their vitality for three years.
The Garden Orache has a salty, spinach-like taste. The leaves are used cooked or in salads. It was commonly grown in Mediterranean regions from early times until spinach became the more favored leaf vegetable. The leaves can come in red, white and green varieties. It is commonly grown as a warm weather alternative to spinach because it is more tolerant of heat and slower to bolt in warm weather. The green leaves were once used to color pasta in Italy. Another common use of orach is to balance out the acidic flavor of sorrel.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Atriplex hortensis.|
- "Taxon: Atriplex hortensis L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Area. Retrieved 2008-03-23.
- Burr, Fearing: "The Field and Garden Vegetables of America", page 297. Crosby and Nichols, 1863
- Davidson, Alan (1999): Orach. In: Oxford Companion to Food: 556. ISBN 0-19-211579-0
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