Elephant's foot or hottentot bread
|Origin||:||Africa and tropical Asia|
|Height||:||6 feet (1.80 m)|
Elephant’s foot, also known as hottentot bread, belongs to the family of the Araceae, and is cultivated in the tropics because of its enormous edible tuber. It is grown mostly in tropical Asia and the Pacific region.
It is a herbaceous, monocotyledon, twining plant with a few partially exposed tuber covered with voluminous tubercules resembling an elephant’s foot and weighing about 55 lbs. (25 kg). The flowers, generally small and inconspicuous, are surrounded by a spathe. There is variety Amorphophallus titanium which has the largest flowers of the vegetable kingdom: its leaves can reach a length of 6.5 ft. (2 m0 and a diameter of up to 4 ft. (1.2 m). Fruitage is insignificant due to the fact that the fruit very rarely develop to full maturity. Te tubers have a very mild, slightly pungent taste. Its culture takes place by planting the tubers in damp, rich soil in tropical regions. Harvesting is done very carefully because both plant and tubers contain calcium oxalate which caused skin irritation. The tubers are stored dry and in the dark. The large amount of calcium oxalate contained in the tubers is removed by soaking or cooking. Elephant’s foot is rich in starch, fiber, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals salts (calcium, potassium), and vitamins A, B and C. It is a very nutritious vegetable which provides the organism with the necessary minerals and vitamins.
Elephant’s foot must be peeled using gloves. After that, the tubers are soaked for a whole day in water that is constantly changed. Subsequently, they can be cut into pieces and fried, mashed into a prepare porridages, ragouts and soup stock. A starch is extracted from the tubers and used in desserts, cakes, and soup vermicelli. The young leaves are steamed and eaten like asparagus. Tubers and leaves also used as animal fodder.