Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Growing a Starch

Now that I have honey for sweetener, eggs for protein, fruits, and a lot of plants growing to add flavor and greens, my focus turned to starches. We both love potatoes, but it seems potatoes don't love Louisiana. Thinking about our environment -- we are zone nine here -- it seemed worthwhile to start exploring more tropical-type starches. The two most common are cassava/ yuca/ tapioca plant and taro. Luckily for us, we have an excellent Asian market on the West Bank called Hong Kong Market. They had two types of taro and cassava there, so we bought some and brought it home. We tasted both just boiled with no seasoning, and then fixed them two different ways.

Taro seems a lot easier to work with all around. First, it's not poisonous in its raw state, which means the leaves and peels can go to the chickens without concern for their safety. Second, it pounded out much nicer in my pilon than the cassava did. It got perfectly smooth. Third, it seemed it would be more versatile for both sweet and savory dishes. I can imagine taro cakes dusted in cornmeal, fried in bacon fat and topped off with fresh honey... That just sounds like a delicious Sunday morning breakfast.

So we are growing taro. Right now I'm prepping the beds: turned the soil, put up a fence to keep the dogs out, and fertilizing. Tomorrow I'll plant.

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