Who knows how history might have changed had Sir Francis Drake returned from his round-the-world gap year proclaiming the oca as the new superfood of the 16th century. It could be that right now we would be blogging about the potato with a photo of a gnarly old King Edward being described as “like an oca, but with a less lemony flavour. You can even deep fry it and smother with tomato sauce as an accompaniment to any other foodstuff.”
But Drake got to the spud first* and it’s the oca that is looking slightly strange to our European eyes.
Our newly purchased bag of ocas announces that they’re “one of the lost crops of the Incas” and instructs us to grow them in the same way as potatoes – chitted, planted, earthed up, dug up – although they’re not harvested until a few weeks after the first frost kills off their leaves. For now they’re being stored in a cool, dark place until chitting begins in spring.
We bought our ocas from www.realseeds.co.uk
*Actually, the Spanish were the first Europeans to wrestle the spud from the Ecuadorian Andes