About a month ago I unearthed the first of the mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) tubers that I had grown for the first time this year. The few frosty nights had killed off the greenery and it was clear there wasn't going to be much more growth this year. I pulled up the first plant somewhat nervously, not sure whether there would be much to show for a season's growth. I shouldn't have worried though because the ground was absolutely full of perfect white and purple tubers. The tubers were all close to the surface and near to the base of the climber. They varied in shape from almost round to elongated parsnip shapes.
Mashua tuber harvest from a single plant (11 Dec 2011)
Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) tubers (11 Dec 2011)
The taste of the tubers is unique. Fresh they are tasty and have a spicy radish-like flavour. Roasted the flavour becomes much milder. They go well with other roast vegetables and found a place on our table for Christmas lunch. Their skins are quite thin and they don't seem to need roasting as long as some other vegetables.
I left a couple of tubers in the ground to see if they would over-winter, but I took most out and will keep some for planting in the spring when the soil warms up. In total the two plants I grew (each from a single tuber) both yielded a similar amount totalling 4.245kg. Not bad for a an easy to grow climber with attractive edible leaves.
I also harvested the two Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) plants at the same time. They were also really productive. I filled a great big bucket with their tubers weighing in at 6.205kg!