Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pontederia cordata rhizome tasty when cooked

Picture: Pontederia cordata var lanceolata (a larger form) with boiled rhizome sections.

I found the peeled rhizomes of the aquatic plant Pontederia cordata (Pickerel Weed or Rush) quiet tasty after boiling for 5 minutes then frying. They were pretty firm, perhaps they need longer boiling, tasting mildly like mushroom, pate and mud, in a good, interesting way.

I am not aware of any book saying the rhizomes are edible but one says all parts are (see 1).  I tried them anyway as I've carefully sampled every part over many years and it seems utterly non-toxic, the parts known to be edible taste the same as all other parts (raw), much like the water the plant grows in. Also no part has ever been reported toxic. There are several internet sites saying the rhizomes have been eaten, such as Hilton Pond Center which states the rhizomes have been stewed as a potato substitute (2). Also various birds eat the rhizome along with other parts.

This looks like a very easy root crop to grow to me, but so far does not appear to grow fast enough here in temperate Wellington to be a major contributor to diet. It's possible I am not treating it how it likes, have not tried fertilizer yet.  

I started growing this aquatic plant in tubs because I wanted the edible nut-like seeds, however they do not appear to be produced here in New Zealand, perhaps because the required pollinator (1) is absent. I've found the supposedly edible young leaves and very young stems to be very disappointing, tiny & sparse, but have tried the small flowers, better, basically tasting watery too.  

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