Aussies Living Simply


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    There’s not too much information on cooking Arrowrrot…In hindsight I probably should have thought that more.

    This is an attempt to redress the balance.

    We planted some arrowroot as part of a generic “let’s plant things we can eat!” attitude. That was about a year ago. Since then we forgot about it (astonishing as it is in our front garden and 2 metres tall). A quick look on the net showed little that can be done with arrowroot apart from as a thickener or baking them. Ah well. Today we pulled it out to see if there was anything edible.

    From this experience, I deduce the first rule of arrowroot growing is not to plant it in a motorcycle tyre. We were worried about it spreading out of control so we thought a tyre would be a good way to contain it. Apparently arrowroot does spread because it filled the entire tyre with tubers and we needed a crow bar to flip the tyre over. After that we extracted the tubers using a time-honoured laboratory technique known as “Brute Force And Ignorance.”

    Perhaps it is just me but there’s something odd in the idea of harvesting crops with a sledgehammer. Nothing else worked.

    I pounded the edges of the tyre until tubers started to fall out the bottom and eventually, they were loose enough to extract by hand. Squished a lot of crop. Will know better next time.

    There seemed to be two main types of tuber: Purple ones were about the size of an onion and looked like an onion cross potato. A bit like potato with layered skin. They tended to be on the surface. The other sort looked like a traditional brown potato and were much larger and buried in the soil. I can assume only that the purple ones are younger than the brown ones.

    I tried the purple kind as I figured the younger ones would be less fibrous. Seems to be true as they got worse as they moved to more brown-like examples. I haven’t tried a full-on brown one, just the intermediates so perhaps they suddenly get better with age? I’ll have to try it.

    There was a surprising amount of crop surviving so I picked various examples, sliced them up 3-4mm thick (the chosen thickness had more to do with being a cancer scientist than anything culinary) and baked them at 200 centigrade for about 45 minutes (stupidly, I forgot to check the time).

    Gardening Australia recommends slicing them and soaking for four hours. Haven’t tried that yet but I’ll let you know how it works…in about 2 more hours. The idea is to remove the starch (they do have a lot of starch and leave your mouth feeling powdery).

    Because I’m an idiot, I forgot that the baking trays still had bacon fat on them. Luckily it did no damage (in fact I think it helped). It added a little flavour to an otherwise bland potato thingy.

    The verdict:

    As you move from onion-like to potato-like, they get more fibrous but still taste the same.

    I haven’t tried the fully potato-like ones. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Baking them in oil for about 45 minutes at 200 centigrade worked well.

    They are nice but a little bland (salt is our friend here).

    Too many leave a powdery feeling in your mouth.

    I’ll let you know how the starch-free slices work out when I cook them later today.

    They are easy to grow and do taste nice so we are going to continue (sans motorcycle tyre).


    Andre, is this Canna edulis (Queensland arrowroot) or Maranta arundinacea (West Indian arrowroot)?

    Apparently the West Indian arrowroot is the commercial source of Arrowroot flour. I have the Queensland arrowroot but haven’t tried to eat the tubers. I use the leaves and stems for mulch.


    Not sure. We got them from Green harvest but the website is down.

    Using the very precise method of looking at pictures, I would say it is Canna edulis

    It also better fits the description given on EcoCrop:

    Are these the only two varieties?


    Okay, soaking them did help but not much. Still very starchy. They are very filling and I feel bloated. Eat in moderation next time.


    I think there are other Maranta species as well, but the Canna edulis seems to fit your description, especially the getting it out of the tyre part!

    Mine got to over 9 feet high when it had a good year and water.

    It is very bland, good for babies and invalids as it is pretty easily digested. You could try it next as small chucks in a casserole, where it might pick up some more flavour.


    I am also growing Qld arrowroot and have only used small chunks as a filler in casseroles and curries, so it sort of got mixed up with the choko and other ‘fillers’! It grows prolifically here, and I’m often digging up some to give away. I chop and drop the stalks and leaves for mulch, and feed them to my cows too. The chooks and guinea pigs and muscovies will also eat the arrowroot leaves – great for when it was dry last Spring and anything green was good!

    I just keep digging up tubers and placing them in various gardens and amongst trees – they’re great for filling spaces as well as bellies! We haven’t had an issue with them getting away at all, have been in the ground 2.5 years so far.

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