Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Taro Harvest

I pulled about 15 lbs of taro.  It wasn't a big patch.  I pulled everything, even the tiny corms. because we want to redo the garden to make it more level.  Between the dogs and the rain, that particular plot is always under attack.  This was my weird yellow heirloom cultivar.  The poi is yellow, and looks rather like baby poop, but it tastes good.

When you harvest taro, you dig under it and lift it, a bit like potatoes.  Then you cut off the corm just under the new root sprouts and cut off the leaves above the "arrow", where the new growth of leaves is starting.  You keep the leaves and the corm for eating; what's left is called the "huli", which you can replant.  I offered a teacher at my kids' school a few huli, but forgot to send the boy with them today.  They are just soaking in a bucket to start more rootlets.

I grow dryland taro, because I don't have any streams or reliable running water to create a lo'i or wetland patch.

Taro is very itchy.  You need to wash frequently when handling it, and you need to cook both leaves and corm very, very well.  I cook the corms in a pressure cooker and the leaves (lau) in the crock pot.  The whole process took most of yesterday. I cooked the lau with chicken and added coconut milk to make Chicken Luau.  It looks nasty - green slime and chicken bits, but tastes so very good.  I crave taro lau at frequent intervals....  I put the cooked taro chunks in the fridge for tonight.  I plan to make taro patties for dinner.  I wish I had some sweet potato to add to the patties, but will have to make due with what I have here: some kabocha pumpkin and some spinach.  With taro patties on the menu, I also need to bake sandwich buns today.

It is rather cold, windy, and rainy today.  There is a large fire burning in the Volcano park and I can feel my nose itching, even though it is several miles away.  I am going to work in the greenhouse today after I do the baking and make the taro patties.  Six more days of daily Driver's Ed right during dinner prep time.  Six more days of Spring Break.  I plan to make the most of my mornings and early afternoons.


Renee's Reality said...

Yah it's been cold and rainy here too. I live on the Oregon Coast. I'm pacing around with my mind going 100 mph with everything I want to do outside. Oh well like you I'm getting some baking done today.

NancyDe said...

Renee, I bet our cold isn't as cold as your cold...I am spoiled. It is about upper 50's today on the mountain. But the gray skies and windy gusts make it feel colder and gloomier. Even the sheep aren't wanting to go outside today.

Leigh said...

Taro is something totally foreign to me so this post is pretty interesting! Is it really as much trouble as it seems? Or is it just a matter of getting the routine down? Sounds pretty versatile though so I'm guessing its worth it.

NancyDe said...

Leigh, it really does take a long time to process - a pressure cooker makes it a lot better. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you need to boil it or bake it in a low over for at least two hours.

It took extra time because I just decided to peel it before cooking it, and a lot of my oha were really small, so it was a bit fiddly. I pulled a lot of it too early, just needed to get it out so we could redo the beds.

It is really versatile and good for you. You can bake it into breads, make it into a main dish or even into desserts. Poi is an acquired taste for some visitors, though.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I'm wondering if taro is the vegetable that they make chips out of. I bought a bag once of all kinds of exotic veggies chips. The colors were amazing and all so delicious. Wouldn't your rooster be a tad chewy to eat?

NancyDe said...

Yes, FBMKW, they do make chips out of taro. They use a Chinese taro called bun long. It has to be cut by hand because the shape doesn't lend itself to automation - a true cottage industry. They are yummy, aren't they? When I was young, I thought taro was taro, but there are all sorts of varieties. I have two unusual varieties at my house - one gets quite huge. I have helped the friend who gave me my starts (huli) harvest ten pound corms that had to be dug out with big o'o bars with a lot of effort - and then my little yellow ones that we ate last night for dinner. I had some bun long, but it didn't do well at my elevation (or maybe my school year benign neglect).