Sunday, March 11, 2012

How to grow Colocasia esculenta (eddo, taro, dasheen, gabi)

This picture was taken April 7, 2012.
It looks like I need to pot this one anytime soon.

This picture is from Wikipedia (1)

Propagating Colocasia esculenta (March 11, 2012)

Common Names: taro, dasheen, elephant ear, cocoyam, eddo, eddoe Family: Araceae (arum Family)

I added Gabi as the common name, because it is called Gabi in my language (Cebu Philippines).

This propagation method worked, and it was by accident.
The formula was humidity & moist soil = root and bud formation.

Two weeks ago, I planned a soup for supper. Asian soup is mostly a little bit of pork bone, then vegetables are added to it. It is very common for us to use gabi (in my language) and it commonly known as eddo, or malanga or taro in Loblaws, Walmart, Produce Depot.

I bought maybe 5 pieces of it for a decent soup. Please note, gabi are not to be eaten raw. It will cause you to rash, and itch like crazy. I know, I tried that as a kid, and it was a form of child lesson I will never forget. This root vegetable should be cooked very well, I personally recommend boiling at medium for at least 30 minutes with the soup stock. It is a yummy nutty flavor, thus this gabi is my favorite, instead of using potatoes.

Picture 1. An empty cat little box which I re-use to keep my indoor potting soil.

So, to keep the item safe from my 3 young kids, I end up putting it in an empty plastic of cat litter box. This box is where I keep my moist indoor potting soil, which is nice because it has a lid.

Because I have amnesia, I forgot where I put my eddoes/gabi and the soup was serve with noddles in it. No one cares anyways, except me.

Picture 2. Aha, this is where I put my eddoes 2 weeks ago? Well, roots and buds are coming up already, oh darn!

Two weeks later, I was looking for garden soil, and to my surprise, I found my eddoes in a different state. All of them have roots and buds coming up.

Picture 3. I took them out of the box, and here is what they look like.

So, the pinkish buds are coming out, and roots coming, so I have no choice but pot these babies up and plant them out in spring. Maybe I can harvest them by fall and make some soup out of it.
Again, if I can remember where I put them.

Picture 4. A close up picture of the buds and roots that formed within 2 weeks.


Well, get a decent soil mix, use at least one gallon pot just to keep this alive until spring.
The have to put the brown part on the bottom, and the top is the reddish bud. That bud will stretch and become the first set of leaves.

By spring, buy a big big pot because these lovely eddo, taro can be a nice specimen tropical plant. If you have a big backyard, plant it in a sunny corner, with plenty of water. These are nitrogen hungry plants, and they need lots of compost.

Stems and leaves are edible too, but I won't recommend you try it. There is a certain way of cooking it. Again, it has to be cooked very well done, otherwise, the leaf toxins can cause FOOD POISONING. Trust me, I experienced this myself, I was too hungry and I grab some from the boiling pot, and I vomited like crazy because it was not yet fully cooked. At least grandma was a good doctor, every time I vomited, she hand me a glass of water, until it all came out. I was not hospitalize but the feeling was just awful. Okay, believe me, do not try this at home.


Start early like mine about March, then harvest by Thanksgiving about October. Taro is a very elegant centerpiece for any garden, put it in a the largest pot you can find, and give it lots of water. When the temperature starts to cool down in fall, you can let the foliage die naturally or cut if off. Dig the tubers, it is edible when cooked. Or store it in a brown paper bag for next years gardening season.
I personally dig them and cook it right away.
For the next season, i get new tubers at Loblaws around Feb or March.

How to cook it? Simplest way is boil it like a potato with the skin on. These tubers are not easily cooked, it may last 20-30 minutes on medium heat. You will know that it is cooked when the brown skin starts to flake, or by simply picking it up with a fork. Dumped the water, let it cool down. Then, peel the brownish skin off like peeling a potato. Maybe cut it in cubes, drizzle some maple syrup for snacks. Or make a potato salad, same ingredients just replace the potato part with taro.

While there was no maple syrup in the Philippines, I dipped my freshly boiled taro in brown sugar, and eat it for breakfast.
Another popular use of taro/gabi is to peel it when raw, cut into cubes, and add to your soup recipes in your slow cooker.

PICTURES: Picture 1 to Picture 4 belongs to me. Picture on top belongs to Wiki, see reference below.


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