The !Xun and Khwe San people are known for their wide range of plant food knowledge. In the olden days they used to gather edible plants for food in the veld. The katolo is a domesticated plant used by the !Xun and Khwe Community of Platfontein near Kimberley in the Northern Cape. The leaves of katolo are consumable and it is a staple food in some households of Platfontein. The katolo plant is seasonal. The seed of the katolo is sowed in the summer. After sowing the seeds, it takes approximately three months before harvesting leaves and seeds. The seeds are also harvested for the following sowing season.

To prepare a katolo dish, leaves can be harvested and washed before cooking. It takes about thirty minutes to an hour to cook it. Katolo dish is mostly supplemented with other food because of its vinegary taste. Red meat or chicken is a very good companion for katolo dish. Traditionally, katolo goes well with ‘pap’. Fresh leaves of katolo can come in handy as a side plate with main meal. Katolo can also be cooked together with other vegetables such as cabbage, carrots and potatoes.

Dried katolo
Katolo leaves can be sun dried. The dried leaves of katolo last for longer period. Dried katolo can be used as cook-in sauce. Dried katolo is mostly cooked with meat. Dried katolo lasts up to the following sowing season. The dietary value of katolo is still unknown. Katolo seeds that have been harvested can be kept for many years. Since katolo is unknown in other areas, it has not been scientifically tested or modified. The good thing about Katolo is it does not need too much water. It can be watered only once a week. For many years, katolo has been a household name within the !Xun and Khwe Community only.

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