Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Edible canna lily - a.k.a. Arrowroot, Indian Shot

Edible canna lily

Canna lilies are an almost unknown edible, at least here in the US.
I do not have nutritional information on this plant, which is a surprise because much of the plant is edible. For high calorie gardening I am looking at the starch in the roots. You can eat the roots raw, or bake them like a potato. One can also shred or grind the roots and put in a bucket of water to remove the starch in them.
Since Cannas are a relative of bananas the leaves can be used to rap food for cooking just like a banana leaf. The flowers are also edible along with the unripen seedpods. Where I live in the Midwest I have to dig up the roots every fall and replant every spring. However, the roots are generally shallow so they are easy to dig up.
One thing to remember is that canna like wet soils. They will absorb pollutants/contaminants from wetlands. So always be careful about the runoff that feeds your edible canna. I have grown canna lily since the 1990’s and only discovered a few years ago that it was edible. I purchased some specimens that were grown for food in South America and they have done very well in the Midwest where I live. The only issue I have found is Japanese beetle. But Japanese beetle is also edible. I generally tend to collect them and feed them to the chickens if the turkeys do not get them first. So for a person making a survival garden they are an ideal crop. Most people do not know they are edible. They are easy to grow. They attract an insect that is edible in numbers that are easy to collect J

Achira - Canna edulis a.k.a. Arrowroot, Indian Shot

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