So remember in September when I chitted the oca? Well, after that exhausting exercise, I planted it in an unregarded corner next to the compost bins, where it got a little water, but not any more care than that (well, other than being planted in lovely, left over compost).
Oca (or New Zealand yam) is part of the oxalis family, most of which are noxious weeds in Australia. But the yam is the edible silver lining of the oxalis grey cloud. Pink and wrinkly, it reminds me of babies' toes.
Once the first frost has killed off the plant, the underground tubers (or babies' toes) are ready to be harvested. Here are the frost-deadened tendrils...
And those succulent pink toes, just waiting to be eaten..
This isn't a zombie post, really.
There were so many little yams just popping out of the soil that I only harvested the ones I could see, and left the underground ones for another day.
And while I was there I picked the warrigal greens. Joseph Banks discovered this spinach substitute in New Zealand on his round-the-world jaunt with Captain Cook, and subsequently sent seeds back to the new world with The First Fleet. Apparently it was one of the few greens that thrived in Sydney's dry, sandy soil, and helped prevent scurvy in the convicts. They do contain high levels of oxalic acid (the greens, not the convicts), so need to be cooked well prior to eating (again, don't cook convicts. See, grammar is important).
So, a tribute to New Zealand today. The yams I sliced and sauteed with onion and garlic as the basis of a chickpea curry. Even with long simmering the yams stay a little crunchy. They are a brilliant water chestnut substitute in stir fries, and they roast beautifully. The insides go all fluffy, but still retain that slight sour oxalis tang. A very complex flavour. I steamed the warrigal greens, then popped them into the curry as well.
The children were of course, very excited to be eating chickpea curry with their favourite yams and yummy, yummy greens. Ho ho ho. This was a counterbalance to last night's lamb chops and potato wedges. Swings and roundabouts darlings, swings and roundabouts.
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