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Can you eat Elephant Ear roots??

 
Katya Barnheart
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Location: SE Missouri, Zone 7a
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I have a friend who loves Taro root... she did some research and thinks it is the same plant as what we know as Elepahant Ear. Is this true? She bought lots of Elepahant Ear roots to plant and they did look like Taro root. Wanting some opinions before she goes and eats it though!
Thanks!
 
Tyler Ludens
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The common Elephant Ear plant is a variety of Colocasia, the genus containing Taro, but not all Colocasia are Taro, only Colocasia esculenta and not all are uniformly edible. Here's a webpage discussing how to test for edibility: http://www.eattheweeds.com/is-wild-taro-in-florida-edible-2/

One needs to be careful with Taro because it has to be cooked properly to be edible.

http://raygrogan2-ivil.tripod.com/tarogrowcookeat/id9.html
 
Saybian Morgan
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You can but it's roots are small and not the greatest, and in essence if you can grow elephant ear you can grow taro in the same location and get 10 times the root and it's allot better for you. So I wouldn't grow elephant ear to eat, but if I saw it growing I would know it's an idea spot to suit taro/dasheen.
But like tyler says properly cooks or fermented taro leaves and root are great.
 
Katya Barnheart
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Location: SE Missouri, Zone 7a
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These are the kind of Elephant Ear roots you can commonly buy at most garden stores... They have good sized roots on them, size of a medium sized potato.
So from looking at the article the answer is yes if you cook the heck out of them? Cool.
I Might do an experiment and buy a couple of Taro roots and stick them in the ground and see if they grow. Probably not, I can't find them organic, but worth a shot.

Another weird tropical root question- Yucca, the plant that has edible (and very tasty) tubers and very medicinal leaves and can be made into tapioca... is it the same Yucca you see growing in people's yards as an ornamental?? I recently saw "Yacon" advertised in a seed catalog and the description sounded like Yucca... Confusing though!

Thank you!!!
 
Steve Flanagan
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The Yuca (cassava) root that's edible isnt the same as the desert plant genus Yucca. They are in two different families.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Katya Barnheart wrote:
So from looking at the article the answer is yes if you cook the heck out of them?


Sort of more like "maybe." You need to go through the cooking and testing procedure very carefully. If the particular plants you have are too high in oxalates, they aren't edible (will burn mouth). But worth a *careful* try if you're growing them anyway....
 
Katya Barnheart
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Location: SE Missouri, Zone 7a
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Steve Flanagan wrote:The Yuca (cassava) root that's edible isnt the same as the desert plant genus Yucca. They are in two different families.


Wow, how confusing can it get??
Has anyone tried growing Yuca (with edible root) or Taro before? Their large, tasty tubers seem like they are worth the experiment in growing them... Both are tropical, I wonder if I could even get them to grow in zone 7a?
I see that link about the guy growing Taro in Hawaii, very helpful. Wonder if maybe it could be grown just as an annual in a colder climate?
Oh, adventures in growing your own food!!
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm trying to grow Taro in my greywater bed (as an ornamental) and in my aquaponics system (maybe to eat) but so far they haven't grown much. I think they might want higher fertility than I'm giving them.

 
Steve Flanagan
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I did order three Yucca Baccata (Banana Yucca) plants. They have edible fruit, and when baked they are suppose to taste like Sweet Potatoes. Of course, that is neither Cassava nor taro.
 
Adam Old
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Location: Miami, FL - Zone 10b
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I believe trinidadian callaloo (the national dish) uses the young leaves of the taro plant. Jamaican callaloo uses amaranth greens, and as far as I can tell, and puerto rican callaloo uses elephant ear leaves (malanga).
 
Leila Rich
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As others have mentioned, I wouldn't take the risk on a generic 'elephant ear' if I could grow actual taro
There's a guy from Tokelau at my community gardens and he's planting taro slips all over the place. While it's quite clay-y, moist soil, I was really surprised at how little water the plants seem to need.
Tokelau people use the tubers, but they're far keener on the leaves. Suits me, I'm not a fan of taro root.
Whatever you do, make sure you cook every part of the plant thoroughly to break down the oxalic acid. I've eaten undercooked taro leaves and it's a really unpleasant experience. Imagine chewing on fiberglass insulation...
Pacific islanders nearly always cook the leaves with coconut cream. Apparently it helps neutralise the oxalic acid.
 
Hunter Heaivilin
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Location: Hawaiian Islands
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your elephant ear could be either a xanthosoma or an alocasia; either way they are both eaten around the tropics. in Hawaii elephant ear, or ape`as it is known here, was generally reserved as a famine food due to the preference of taro (which is a colocasia esculenta). elephant ear usually has bigger corms but requires much more cooking time than taros. google about for some micronesian recipes and i'm sure you'll find something good.

yacon is a tuber with a sweet flavor from a non-digestible compound called inulin (which makes it good for diabetics). yacon can be eaten raw, and stores for a little while as well. its not bad grated over salads, or with the right variety eaten out of hand.

yucca or cassava (manihot esculenta) cannot be eaten raw but can be processed with little cooking if done properly. most simply, peel the roots and toss them in a pressure cooker for 10 mins and you're all set to make cassava burgers (a personal favorite), yucca fries, or anything else you can come up with. tapioca is a more laborious process, not least of which involves reducing the root to a fine flour.

yucca as is common in dry areas is a genus of species that can yield everything from rope to soap.

hope that helps.
 
Steve Flanagan
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Hunter Heaivilin wrote:
yucca as is common in dry areas is a genus of species that can yield everything from rope to soap.

hope that helps.


Can it yield soap on a rope?
 
Leila Rich
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Hunter Heaivilin wrote:yucca as is common in dry areas is a genus of species that can yield everything from rope to soap.hope that helps.

Steve Flanagan wrote:Can it yield soap on a rope?

Tee hee!
Welcome to permies, Hunter I'm totally unfamiliar with tropical plants, but the Queenslanders on PRI sure make me jealous with their casual talk of galangal this and vanilla that

 
Xep Arkonatitlan
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Taro, arrow root, elephant ear, etc, and the latine wouldnt be as helpful to me as the Mayan. My wife, who is Mayan, warns me to be very cafefull with those. We have kixtan, malanga, and elephant ears which must be new, by the name. Malanga you only eat the root, Kixtan, only the leaves. Nobody here eats elephant ear or many of the smaller species. There is a side species of malanga that they grow for export. All have insoluble oxilates, like dumcane in the eastern woodlands. The reaction of a horse 'dumbness' was considered humerous to the pioneers, but not so if it cuases asfixiation and death.
Yuca is the latin american name for what is called casava in english. The english word Yucca has no relation to the spanish word. Malanga etc grows anywhere wet, and I think grey water may have too amany nutients. Yucca survives droughts, but can take two years to grow. In soft fertile soil yucca can produce much quicker. Yucca is one of my favoriet calory crops. I like to plant yucca in the soft birm of a reciently dug swale, under the (temporary) pile of black soil moved preparing a construction site, Yucca produced well in six months.
 
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