I’m all oca-ed out!

I’ve started harvesting oca in earnest. All the stems have died down and I need to get them out so I can prepare the beds for the summer stuff.

This is the harvest from just one bed, about half a square metre in area. To give an idea of the scale, they’re sitting in an upturned rubbish bin lid:

There are some nice big tubers in this lot and there are still 2 more beds to harvest!

I only eat these raw or pickled (not cooked) in flavoured vinegar. Some people say they’re delicious roasted. I’ve boiled, roasted and microwaved them and to me they’re well,…….bleaaaah!

I pickled a couple of jars today. It’s a pity the colour bleeds out of them, because the effect of the dark-coloured internal rings when they’re sliced crossways, is lost. But they’ll taste good in salads, anyway:

Later edit:

My pickling liquid recipe is below—after one of the comments.

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4 Responses to “I’m all oca-ed out!”

  1. Rhizowen Says:

    Hi foodnstuff

    Good to see oca growing in Melbourne. You could probably flog a few jars to the tourists down at St Kilda. Do your plants ever flower?
    Is it acidity you object to in the cooked tubers? I find them quite pleasant myself, but it’s possible your growing conditions might be influencing the taste. I hear there quite nice with a bit of chilli and salt. Haven’t tried it yet – need to get the harvest in first.

    Good luck

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Hi Rhizowen, thanks for the comments.

      St Kilda’s a bit far away for me to bother, but friends and neighbours are happy to take the surplus.

      Yes, the plants sometimes flower….yellow, if I remember correctly. Haven’t thought to look for seed.

      It’s not acidity in the cooked tubers. They soften, with a texture like mashed potato, but the flavour is nothing I’d write home about. I described it to a friend recently as ‘old socks’. And before you ask, no, I’ve never eaten old socks! Maybe it’s the smell I’m thinking of.

      I’ve seen different colour forms (yellow ones) in photos on the Net, so there are obviously different varieties about. Maybe I’ve just got one that isn’t much flavourwise when cooked.

      How do you cook them?

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  2. Frogdancer Says:

    How do you pickle them?
    I haven’t planted the ones you gave me yet.

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      Here’s my pickling mixture:

      3/4 cup vinegar (I use Apple Cider vinegar)
      1/2 cup water
      4 tbsp sugar (I always use raw sugar….for everything)
      2 tsp dill seeds
      2 sprigs fresh dill
      1/4 tsp mustard seed
      1/4 tsp salt

      (If I don’t have fresh dill growing, I leave it out. This is the same recipe I use for cucumbers and by the time they’re ready for picking, the dill is usually ready)

      Heat the mix to just boiling. Slice oca into 5 mm slices and place in a preheated jar. Pour the hot liquid over the top and seal.

      As for planting, they can be planted any time after harvesting. In spring, they’ll start to put out tiny shoots from the eyes (like potatoes) and they should definitely be planted then.

      Hill up the soil around the stems as for potatoes.

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