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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Oca, An Unusual Vegetable


Oca is relatively unknown in the United States but very popular in New Zealand, Mexico and South America. It is a vegetable similar to a potato but much harder to clean. They are about the length of your finger in size. To me they they look like a small wrinkly red carrot. The top of the plant reminds me of a succulent with tiny flowering shamrocks. You can fry, boil, steam, roast, dry or even eat raw. According to Wikipedia oca is a wood sorrel of the Andes, cultivated in South America for its edible tubers.


We planted tubers last April, and I harvested the plants a few days ago. They probably were in the ground too long, but we did not have much of a choice at the time. When in the ground they looked this this.


When first dug up, they look like this. The leaves and flowers are edible and would be great in a salad. There are many tiny little roots.


I roasted these in the oven with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper for about 25 minutes at 350F. The result was very surprising. Raw they were crunchy and a little sour. Roasted they were tangy, almost like they were cooked with vinegar. I think they would make a nice dish when roasted alongside of other root vegetables or cut-up raw in a salad.

52 comments:

  1. I can't wait to try these sometime

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    1. They are quite different but delicious!

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    2. They look like baby potatoes so it's good to know what they are :)

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    3. Hi Tandy, they do look like baby potatoes, much harder to clean and a bit of a tangy flavor.

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  2. wow, Oca looks really interesting. I've never had it and am not so familiar with the ingredient. Impressed you grew it and gave it a try too. Given your preparation suggestions, I'm wondering how they might taste boiled then prepared like a Mediterranean Potato Salad with olive oil, vinegar, capers, onions and celery. I'd like to give it a go. Thanks for such a unique Post!

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    1. Hi Peggy, we have some left and I will try your method, sounds delicious! Happy week-end!

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  3. I love nothing better than hearing about a new veggie --- this one is so unusual, the flavor sounds so interesting, I wish I could taste one!

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    1. Hi Sue, it took us over a year to be able to taste them, from what I understand there are many varieties and they range in flavor. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Thanks for the introduction to a new veggie. I have never seen or heard of this one before. This sounds like a great vegetable to use in a potato salad as it would have that slightly tart taste. Your harvest is looking good. Pinned!!

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    1. Thanks Bam, working on the garden now, planting lettuce and chard. Great idea about potato salad.

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  5. I have never heard of oca, but I will have to look for it now! It sounds delicious, thank you for the informative post! :)

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    1. Hi June, love to try new things, good luck!

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  6. I have never heard of or seen, let alone had, oca..they look so adorable.

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    1. Hi Angie, it was a fun veggie to grow, long growth cycle though. Thanks!

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  7. I never heard of oca before, but it does look like a wrinkle carrot. I bet it tastes great especially since you grew them yourself. There is nothing better than fresh home grown veggies.

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    1. Hi Marlene, everything taste better when you grow it yourself that's for sure, part of it is the satisfaction I think.

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  8. I've never heard of these. I will have to watch for them!!!

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    1. Hi Julie, they are hard to find, depends on where you live. Thanks!

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  9. You definitely have me intrigued! I'm guessing I'll never find it here in the states, and that's too bad. It amazes me that there are so many different foods that I have never heard of.. Thanks so much for sharing, Cheri! :-)

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    1. Hi Prudy, it is amazing, I feel the same way, always finding something new.

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  10. Interesting, Cheri ... this is the first time I've ever seen or even heard of oca. Thanks for the description, though. I will have to look out for them here in the UK!

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    1. Hi Helen, not sure you will find it there, but I've read that in New Zealand they call it a red yam.

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  11. I have never heard of these either. It is so interesting learning about new foods. Thanks for sharing about these.

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    1. Hi Shari, don't think we will find this in AZ but you never know. Thanks!

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  12. I've never heard of these. How did you even know to plant them? What fun to try something new. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Abbe, they were at the farm store in town, and the owner gave me instructions on how to grow. I never had heard of them before.

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  13. Great to try new veggies, you planted them, picked them and cooked them...cool!

    ela h.
    Gray Apron

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  14. When I lived in New Zealand these were called New Zealand yams. I really liked them. I didn't know they were also called oca. :)

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    1. Hi Maureen, yes I read that about New Zealand, I wonder if they taste a little different as there are supposed to many types of varieties.

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  15. An interesting vegetable! They look a lot like Jerusalem artichokes.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, That is one vegetable I would love to try. Thannks

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  16. That's fascinating, particularly about that tangy flavor. I love learning something new so thank you for this lesson. : )

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    1. Your welcome Monica, I learned something new too.

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  17. I have never heard of Oca. I wonder if they will ever be available in the States. Appreciate you stopping by. Would love to visit your part of the world someday.

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    1. Hi Penny, love it here, your part of the world looks lovely as well. I could live on a lake. Thanks!

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  18. This is so interesting - and they are so pretty too. Very cool!

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    1. HI Tricia, they certainly are different, but hard to clean.

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  19. Just learned something new today! What a fun post about Oca! And I love how you showed the photos of them in the ground and then all cleaned. So sound surprisingly yummy, I'll have to keep my eye out for this unique veggie!

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    1. Hi Phi, it was a new experience for me too, very long growing cycle.

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  20. I've never heard of Oca before, I definitely need to research this veggies.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Hi Mike, it's definitely different, but worth trying. The flavor is unusual, tangy like vinegar has been added.

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  21. I have not heard of these before, Cheri! I am going to have to keep my eyes open for them. Thanks for the intro! ~ David

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    1. Hi David, we just happened upon them last year in Oregon. Worth a try, they would be great with other root veggies.

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  22. Never heard nor seen an Oca before but very intrigued. Did a quick Google check and it turns out they grow well in the UK so will keep an eye out for them.

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    1. Hi Tina, I believe they also grow them in New Zealand and call them New Zealand yams!

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  23. As I seem to be especially keen on anything tangy in flavour I'm sure to love these. I've never heard of them before. Will have to Google to find out some info!

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    1. Hi Johnny, the flavor is very interesting, I bet you would like them. Thanks for stopping by.

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  24. I had never heard of these, but they look so cute :)

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    1. Thanks, they are delicious and you can add whatever you like to them. Appreciate you stopping by.

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  25. I never heard of them before! I LOVE that you're growing them yourself! That's so adventurous!

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    1. Thanks Reeni, they took almost a year so we probably wont grow them again.

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