(03 September 2015)
I have mentioned the merits of the permaculture staple Queensland arrowroot (Canna edulis) previously, and can now tell you about its taste. The young tubers and shoots of this herbaceous perennial are not only edible but tasty too. They are commonly used as a potato substitute, which is not at all surprising, as the smell, taste and texture of Queensland arrowroot are strongly reminiscent of the well-known root crop.
Preparation of Queensland arrowroot tubers is the same as for potatoes – peel, chop, season, then steam or bake; yumbo. You can also make Arrowroot flour from the tubers, which is used primarily as a thickening agent. There are a few processes involved however, so a little more time would need to be set aside to create it.
Queensland arrowroot is highly nutritious for both humans and animals, containing potassium, calcium, phosphorous and protein. And unlike my other favourite root crop of all time Jerusalem artichokes (aka fartichokes), this easy to grow staple is gentle on one’s digestive tract.
Plant Queensland arrowroot tubers in moist fertile soil late winter when the worst of the frosts have passed. Propagation is by division of the tubers, which can also be carried out at this time.
Green Harvest are suppliers of Queensland arrowroot and they also have a useful factsheet on their care and plethora of uses: www.greenharvest.com.au