Okay, so I had y’all on tenterhooks, didn’t I, when I asked you the identity of the mystery vegetable a few posts back.
Thanks to everyone for your guesses, Bethany came the closest when she guessed it was mashua, as both the mystery veg and mashua are root vegetables from the Andes, and have a very similar appearance.
The mystery vegetable is actually oca, here is the Wiki entry on it, though I have to say the Wiki picture does not look like my oca… on the other hand, the picture on the mashua page of mashua and oca, THAT looks like my oca (except for the colour).
It is a really great crop to grow, very easy and virtually pest-free. (A couple plants did get an early infestation of blackfly, which was quickly sorted with an organic pest spray.) The tubers form AFTER frost has killed off the top growth, which is usually at the beginning of November in this part of the UK (though we had an early frost this year). They keep for months if kept in a cold, dark place, and they’re easy to grow from the previous year’s tubers (this is our second year growing oca).
So far we’ve dug 1/3 of the bed, total useable weight was around 2.3kg (5 pounds), so hopefully we should get about 7kg (15 pounds) from the 1.2m x 1.8m (4ft x 6ft) raised bed.
Oca can be eaten raw or cooked. The tubers are crunchy and tangy (kinda lemony) when raw, but lose this sharpness when cooked. They’re really good roasted too. In New Zealand, oca are called yams, and are a common crop (or so I’ve read). I found this page on different ways to prepare oca, and will definitely try some of them out.
Now for the second mystery veg, which we also grew this year:
Have fun guessing 🙂