I recently returned home from India, and today I finally got to dig down under the remains of my Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) plants to find their hidden treasure - the elusive tubers!
Anyone whose ever grown potatoes will know the thrill of digging up your first spuds of the season... you never know quite what you'll uncover until you dig deep and eagerly claw back the earth - where you had planted just one little potato there now lies many beautiful, delicious little jewels! There's always something miraculous about that, and I had the same feeling when digging up my Mashua tubers this morning.
Having enjoyed eating the leaves all summer and watching the plant clamber wildly, growing many meters high and wide, finding the tubers just felt like a bonus. I threw a big one straight in the oven and waited 45 minutes, wondering what it might taste like.
When it came out, the first thing that struck me was its distinctive smell - very sweet, my family all agreed it had a certain vanilla like scent. The flesh was soft and juicy, like a Jerusalem Artichoke and it's taste was not unlike it's smell - sweet and aromatic. The skin however must be the bit that some find less palatable - it has a curious raddishy kind of hotness that might take some getting used to... but until then you've always got the sweet fleshy inside to enjoy.
A great success - perhaps my favourite plant I've grown so far. For more on the Mashua, see the full article near the bottom of my page.
I received my mashua tubers from a plant swap by post and would love to share them with others in this way. If you have nothing to swap then a few quid would be greatly appreciated.