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[Aroid-l] Aroid recipes/edibility

>From : 	Peter Matthews <pjm@gol.com>
Reply-To : 	Discussion of aroids <aroid-l@gizmoworks.com>
Sent : 	Sunday, September 2, 2007 8:22 AM
To : 	aroid-l@gizmoworks.com
Subject : 	Re: [Aroid-l] Aroid recipes

Dear Peter and Friends,

A most interesting post on many points, I`ll try to respond as best I can 
below each paragraph.   In the past I have addressed many of these on 
aroid-L, but here goes again for the newbies!

>>Dear Aroid Tasters and Survivors,
The young shoots of wild Lasia spinosa are commonly used as a vegetable in 
Burma/Myanmar. Maybe the spines of L. spinosa have been an effective defense 
against herbivores, making nasty chemical defences less important.<<

I saw a slide of John Bantas showing bunches of tied-together infloresences 
of Lasia spinosa on a village table for sale in I believe it was Thailand!
Also, when the first wild plants of the MUCH rarer second species of Lasia, 
L. coccinia were discovered in Kalimantan, Borneo (paper in Aroideana by M. 
Sizemore and G. Hamballi), the plants had been left growing as 'weeds' in a 
rice paddy by its owner, as he regularly harvested, cooked and ate the young 
Leaves of several Amorphophallus sps. are used in this way, I am told.   I 
believe that with heat and enough cooking, the 'itch' in most aroids is 
rendered harmless.   Back in Trinidad, W.I. when I was growing up, ONLY the 
young, unfurled leaves of Dasheen (with a purple 'spot' on the leaf-blade 
above where the petiole attached to the leaf) were collected for our 
National dish, calallo and crab.   With increasing demand, the leaves of ALL 
Colocasia vars. (Dasheen, eddoes, wild dasheen) are harvested and sold, and 
with enough cooking do not itch.

>>Are the young shoots of other spiny aroids also edible? Is this a
general pattern, or do some aroids pull out all the stops, so to speak, to 
make themselves unattractive?<<

I don`t have enough information on this aspect.   I do believe that all/most 
aroids might be edible with enough cooking.   The problem would be to get 
ENOUGH of any one species to make it worth your while.   Lasia spinosa grows 
in huge stands, as does Colocasia, but other aroids, even the spiny ones, 
grow sort of one plant here, one plant there, so you`d have hell finding 
enough leaves at the correct stage of growth!

>>Have cultivated forms of Monstera deliciosa been selected for edible 
>>fruit, or are the fruit of wild forms equally edible?<<

I debated this on aroid-L some years ago.   As far as I know, modern man has 
not selected any particular clone of this plant for fruit production.   
BUT---did native Americans do this??   Who knows.
M. deliciosa fruit has LOTS of edible pulp and a fewLARGE seeds, but one has 
to be careful when trying to eat the pulp not to bite into the odd seed 
secreted in this wonderful pulp, as they will itch!

>>When and where did the monster become delicious? I would like to try that 
>>bowl of river-chilled fruit, but which river is best for it?

I believe that the fruit are prized in Mexico and elsewhere.   The fruit of 
some Philodendron sps. are also prized as food in S. America.
Whoever the author was who described it, he or she used 'deliciosa' as the 
species name to denote its culinary properties.
This was also done by my friend Skip Lazell when he described a new then 
sub-species of green iguana in the W. Indian Islands that was particularly 
good eating, he called it Iguana i. delicatisimma!   It differs from the 
more common green iguana (also GREAT eating!) by lacking the huge scale on 
its cheek.
Whatever river 'shakes your tree' as a chiller, go for it!!!  :--)

Good Growing,



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