Taro is probably one of the most versatile plants on earth! However it is one that you have to know how how to grow it, how to harvest it, how to store the different bits of it and how to prepare it and how to cook it and then lastly how to eat it. It is a complex plant but worth it if you master it as it is a complete plant that nothing is wasted.
To start with planting moist or wet soil, almost boggy preferably, make a hole as deep as the size you want your taro to be then stick your taro top in as far as you can only fill in a little to stop the top coming out if it rains.
While the plant is growing the young leaves are very good for you and tasty but are full of oxalic acid! this need to be removed by blanching in boiling water for 30 seconds then washed before cooking as you would spinach. Us Islanders prefer it to spinach as it has a nicer flavor as long as the oxalic acid is removed and we cook it in coconut milk with fish and the famous Polisami or corned beef wrapped in leaves these are the leaves.
Harvesting- put a pole in along side as deep as the taro plant was planted and pull sideways the taro will dome out without breaking.
Taro if not cooked right can be dry and hard so it is important to boil it slow and long and let the centre of the piece cook.
The stems just below the leaves down to about a quarter of the way down makes a lovely dish also called baba (pronounced Mbamba in Fijian) where it is blanched in boiling water for a minute then the skin is stripped off with a sharp knife then it is shredded with fork. lastly a cup thick coconut milk that has been mixed with a cup lemon juice is poured over it . this can be served straight but often accompanied with freshly chopped chillies
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