An Oca Tale

Christiaan van Schalkwyk
Thu, 03 Dec 2009 01:10:56 PST
 This is a tuberous vegetable domesticated by the
> Incans and other highland peoples of the Andes in South America. The
> only edible member of the genus, a favorite of some of this list
> growers.

Oca might be the only cultivated cullinary Oxalis, but many others are 
enjoyed, and I suspect most are edible:

The common name for Oxalis palmifrons is 'Soup sorrel' (not that I am EVER 
going to add mine to soup . . .).

"Waterblommetjie bredie", a traditional cape dish (stew) made of the flowers 
of Aponogeton distachyos, use Oxalis pes-caprae leaves and stalks as a main 
ingredient. See for recipe and more 
detailed explanation of what "waterblommetjies" is. Oxalis pes-caprae is 
also oftenly used in other stews (also often with the flowers of various 
Gasteria species -which is a whole new topic).

The contractile root of many Oxalis species (it is a thick white fleshy root 
that can be found on many species during the season of active growth) is 
quite delicious. They are eaten raw, are quite sweet to the taste, with very 
low oxalic acid content. I often raid my Oxalis pes-caprae, copiosa and 
similar plants . . . Local people, mostly the children, will know all the 
good places to dig these bulbs.

The leaves of most Oxalis species are usefull as an acidulant, i.e. in the 
place of vinigar or lemon juice in cooking. But be aware, ingesting too much 
Oxalic acid might lead to kidney stones.


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