Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Nalta Jute and common mallow

Note kindly supplied by Brian Wurzell, of Tottenham, London:

In Turkey and neighbouring countries an indigenous tropical malvaceous shrub, Corchorus olitorius, variously known as Nalta Jute, Jew’s Mallow, and Bush Okra, is highly esteemed for the edible and herbal qualities of many of its parts.  Indeed, it is widely cultivated in the warmer parts of Africa, Asia and America.

Fresh leaves of common mallow (Malva sylvestris) were found by Turkish immigrants to this country to have similar physical and edible qualities, and are, therefore, highly prized by them as food.  One of the main products they fashion out of both Corchorus and Malva is a traditional Turkish soup, called Molokhia or Mulukhiyah (other spellings also exist).  In its simplest form the leaves are boiled like spinach to make a rather glutinous semi-liquid broth, which is, no doubt, nutritious, although arguably an acquired taste (try it and see for yourself).

Images:  Balham, London Borough of Wandsworth; July 2017.

Edited 2 October 2019.