What are ocas?Ocas (Oxalis tuberosa) is extensively cultivated in Peru and Bolivia. It is also grown commercially in New Zealand where it is known as yam, and grows very well in the UK and Ireland. It has small edible tubers which are washed, and can then be boiled, roasted, stir fried, or even eaten raw in salads. The tubers have a pleasant sweet/ tangy flavour, Leaves are also edible, with a tangy flavour similar to that of sorrel. Indeed, ocas belong to the Wood sorrel family.
Why grow ocas?They are very easy to grow. They give good yields, and are delicious to eat. And they even make a nice decorative border, with lots of flowers in early autumn!
They are still relatively unknown in Europe and are not grown commercially outside their native Andes, except in New Zealand, but this is starting to change. Dennis Cotter, of Cafe Paradisio fame, gives a few recipes for them in his last book "Wild garlic, gooseberies... and me", so they are a good crop to start growing now.
They store very well throughout the winter. Tubers left on a shelf in a shed were still perfectly edible in April, and grew when planted.
They are disease free, and you can save your own tuber seeds from year to year.