This post is about Eating Canna Lily Rhizome. We will talk some basics about Canna, then talk about its edibility and move on to how to cook the rhizomes.
The Canna plant (Canna indica), also sometimes called the Canna Lilly, has broad flat alternate leaves and grows 6 to 10-foot high. Its leaves are large and green, sometimes brown to maroon, and occasionally variegated. High winds can tear the leaves, so many times they are planted in an area that protects them from strong winds.
The Canna requires 6 to 8 hours of full sun and moderate water in well-drained rich or sandy soil.
Rhizomes are an edible starch. The rhizomes can be eaten raw, boiled, or baked. Today we will boil and bake the rhizomes. The greens can be eaten as well, usually the young greens, and they are usually cooked, but can be eaten raw. The greens are also sometimes used to cook another food in. Because all of the greens have died back for me already this year, I can not try them. Young seeds can be used as an addition to tortilla.
To harvest Canna Lily rhizomes, simply cut the above ground growth off about two inches above ground level. Then use a shovel and dig out at least six inches away from where the above ground growth was. Then use the shovel to loosen the soil in the area and gently remove the rhizomes. See the video below titled Eating Canna Lily Rhizome for a detailed view of this process.
Once you have the rhizomes in the kitchen, give them a cleaning to get the dirt off. Do not use a coarse scrub brush as this will scar the rhizomes and cause issues later in the cooking process. Also, remove any of the smaller roots at this point.
Put the rhizomes in a pot, add water, and boil them for half an hour. First year rhizome growth can be used like potatoes at this point. Second year or older rhizomes will need to be baked for 30 to 120 minutes more after boiling.
For the first-year rhizome that I boiled, I found the taste to be exactly like a potato. The texture is a cross between potato and water chestnut. I never actually baked the rhizome long enough to be usable, so I cannot speak to that. I may try the second-year rhizome next year when I have more time, but I had plenty of first year rhizomes this year for use, so I was happy.
Check out the video below titled Eating Canna Lily Rhizome.
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