Continually searching for something new; seeking something different to add variety and interest, to liven-up mundane, I recently came across oca, an edible root also known as New Zealand yam and a staple crop of the Andes before its introduction to Europe and New Zealand in the mid-1800’s as an alternative to potato. Piled high, its vibrant red colour and grub-like appearance attracted attention though thankfully adorned by a description explaining they can be eaten raw or alternatively, cooked in the same manner as potatoes. Low in calories, 30 kcal for around 100g, finely slice into salads for a colourful, citrusy tang not forgetting a delicious crunch that’s akin to a crisp, juicy radish.


It is recommended to peel the oca before cooking as studies show that during baking, steaming or boiling there is a migration of oxalic acid from the skin to the underlying flesh that this isn’t necessarily harmful but a build-up can contribute to kidney stones. A pleasant, mealy texture when cooked though with a price tag around €13 per kilo, I shall probably stick to adding a couple to salads.