Living off the land, the green and lazy way…

otoe greens
The big heart-shaped leaves are otoe greens. In the mainstream Panamanian cuisine, it’s the roots that are eaten. They are widely available in grocery stores and, when  they allow informal commerce, from farmers and small vendors. Get the ones that are not coated in preservative wax and just stick them in the ground. They become perennials, and for some people, ornamentals. But when cooked, the greens are good to eat. Photo by John Douglas.

Eating weeds

by John Douglas

My Perezoso farm and I are on a learn green foods kick. With emphasis on the weeds, and normally unused parts of the plants.

You’re right — I am CHEAP. At this point this perennial wins. It is my favorite favor. In the same family of otoe.

It also goes by names like tahitian taro and belembe.

It is featured on the cover OF EDIBLE LEAVES OF THE TROPICS. With good reason. It is delicious.

Between the two main groups there are 102 varieties so trust your taste buds. Cook some up and check it out.

Unlike otoe/taro its corms are small and not very starchy.

Likes humid and rich soil and hates sand.

Most all of the wild greens should be cooked. First nod goes to the young and tender leaves and shoots.

Do give it a try.


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