Taro (Colcasia esculenta) or also referred to as Chinese potato, cocoyam, curcas or dalo, is plant stemming from the Araceae family and grows in mainly under humid conditions such as in south asia and oceania. It is identified by its heart shaped leafs and can grow anywhere in between 0.4 and 2.3 meters. The root, however, is the most used part. This starchy tuber has a similar form to a sweet potatoe yet it is typically covered in brown and hairy skin. Inside, it has smooth, white flesh marked with small, dark specks which has a nutty flavor.
Taro is being used for nutritional purposes. It is mainly the root but also the young leaf and stolon can be eaten. Other, it can be used in the paper industry, for manufacturing medicinal tablets, as a material for plainting, animal food, or simply for aesthetic purposes.
When can I eat it?
The Taro root can be harvested around 200 days after seeding when the leafs turn yellow and start falling off. The leafs must be consumed whilst they’re still young and can be harvested as soon as the first appears.
The soil has to be warm such as in spring whereas it needs to be followed by at least 200 frost free days to reach maturity. Since it is a tropical plant it needs to be watered often and the soil should be moist consistently. Taro prefers a high-potassium fertilizer such as ash or chicken manure.
Taro is actually a culinary favorite in many cultures around the world. Its leaves are usually cooked similar to spinach and so are the roots to potatoes.
Taro chips (baked not fried), on the other hand, is becoming a popular healthy alternative to MSG-loaded processed potato chips, and can be found in many health stores today.
Taro contains: potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, fiber, good amounts of antioxidants, as well as vitamins C, B and E.
Side effect When the root is being cooked in water, the water should not be used any further as it absorbs the calcium oxalate from the plant which then can lead to stomach problems.