Edible roots of elephant ears: C. esculenta and X. sagittifolium
A recent trip to a local Philipino store ÂfacilitatedÂ a couple more interesting crops for the garden. I could not resist buying two types of roots. They were named Big Gabi and little Gabi. Now seriously, how could anyone resist?
A little research, some speculation, and the goggle image feature showed that little Gabi is also known as Taro, and this is Colocasia esculenta, from the Araceae family. It is one type of elephant ears native from Asia.
Big Gabi looked suspiciously like a long lost favorite food crop of mine, named Name (put a wiggle on top of the N). It does not have that name anywhere in the google world, where the two most common names are Yautia and Malanga. This is the best tasting root crop I have eaten. I love potatoes (irish-inca), sweet potatoes, cassava, taro, sunchokes, all of these, but Name (Malanga) is the most delicious one of all, at least to me and my whole family. These are elephant ears as well (different shape leaves), from the Araceae family too, but different genus, tribe, and species, these are Xanthosoma sagittifolium, native from tropical south and central America.
Both roots were planted in an edible perennial bed I am making (together with artichokes, nice leaves too!). However, I am missing another root, so I was wondering if anyone here would know.
When I lived in Central America (Panama) we made sancocho. It is a tasty and nutritious local soup (stew). It has among many other ingredients some yuca (yuca is cassava), some Name (ah, this is my big Gabi AKA Malanga) and there was a third root, named Otoe. I have goggled Otoe to no avail, except that I got the species name and it is the same species as Name (X. sagittifolium). But it does not look like the root I got at all (Name), and it is not Taro either. It is a smaller root and it is a purplish color. The taste is also different than Name and Yuca. I suspect the foliage might be a different color, purple perhaps? I would love to find this ÂthirdÂ root. I bet a different color elephant ear would look great in my perennial bed too. Since I am not sure that ALL elephant ears are edible I would prefer to find it as a food root crop. Anyone know what else it would be called? Perhaps someone can tell me if all elephant ears are edible? Then maybe I could search for a purple one, and I bet my root would be there.