More about oca

Judy Glattstein
Wed, 21 Jul 2004 12:13:33 PDT
I bought 8 oca, which weighed .64 of a pound or just over an ounce apiece.
They were priced at $5.99 a pound. They are one of those items from
"Frieda's" a wholesale that supplies supermarkets with unusual fruit and
vegetable items.

Still not doing well with a web search. Being an old-fashioned gal I turned
to those archaic things, you know, books . . .

Larousse Gastronomique has an entry! My copy is the sixth printing, 1965.

Occa, Oka-plant, Oxalis - This plant was introduced from South America into
England in 1829. It is extensively cultivated in Peru and Bolivia and grows
very well in England and Wales. It grows wild in the forests of France. It
has edible tubers which are washed, parboiled in salted water and then
prepared in different ways; au beurre (lightly fried), a la creme, in gravy,

Lauw, have you ever seen them cavorting wildly in the forests of France?

And from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's 21-st-Century Gardening Series
"Gourmet Vegetables" Anne Raver writes:

The Incas grew ocha, or oca (Oxalis tuberosa) - which is now coming back to
American gardens - for its edible tubers more than a thousand years ago. . .
. William Woys Weaver (author of Heirloom Vegetable Gardening) mentions how
he starts them in pots in late winter and plants out in the garden when all
danger of frost is past. He eats the greens as a vegetable, but if he wants
to harvest the tubers later in the season, he leaves the tops alone.

She says something about it was introduced  in 1837.

Anne Raver continues:

Oxalis thrives in cool weather and does best, Weaver has discovered, in
partial shade. Oxalis tetraphylla (O. deppei) known as lucky clover, was
introduced from Mexico in 1837. The plants need sandy soil to produce
carrotlike roots about 3 inches long. Weaver says they have a delicate
flavor but that you must "allow them to mellow in the sun for several days
to remove the bitterness." He also enjoys the shamrock-shaped leaves and
pink flowers in salads.

Carolyn, I thought what you wrote WAS addressed to me and found it very
amusing. It is especially funny because on July 2nd I turned an article in
to Green Scene, magazine of the Penn. Hort Society. For the October issue, I
called it Sur la Table. It's about edible lily bulbs, camassia, and ramps.
Would have had more but heck, I only had 600 words. I'm going to write a
bulb-related article every other month for 6 issues. If I'm tired of - now
that it is autumn the bulbs are here, plant tulips and daffodils - I want to
do articles about other funky things bulbs do. I know Wegmans has stores in
PA and NJ and Rochester NY. I would never buy stapes, but if you want fresh
water chestnuts, baby bok choy, true Seville oranges, a zillion kinds of
cheese, teeny tiny baby lamb chops, great bread - and oca - then Wegmans is
the place to go. Good thing they are 45 minutes away.

My brother the anthropologist did his doctoral work in Peru, living for 18
months in Cuzco. he speaks both Quechua and Aymara, and is my fall-back for
oca recipes. Unfortunately he is off backpacking with his college age son
somewhere in California (they live in Davis) so don't know how soon I'll get
an answer.

If I do get these things cooked I'll let y'all know how they came out.

Judy, of the "if it doesn't run fast enough, eat it" cookery school

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