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Author Topic: Anredera cordifolia: Basell Potatoes, Binahong, Madeira Vine, Mignonette Vine  (Read 430 times)

Caesar

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I read up on this plant a few months ago and decided to give it a shot; I'm waiting on my plant in the mail right now. Edible leaves and potato-like rhizomes, plus a prolific profusion of aerial bulbils that I was fascinated by (not unlike the bulbil-bearing yams; it seems like a great way to harvest roots without digging). The only drawback (and a big one at that) is its potential for invasiveness, so please... Handle with care. Responsible management is important.

The leaves are said to resemble those of its close relative, Malabar Spinach (the other Binahong, Basella alba), with a similar - possibly stronger - flavor and a mucilaginous quality. The rhizomes are also thoroughly (┐distastefully?) mucilaginous if eaten raw, like its other relative Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus), but with a mild starchy flavor instead of the typical dirt beetroot flavor of Ulluco; they're said to resemble potato when baked. (As an interesting tangent, I've read that Ulluco greens are far superior to its relatives, and indeed superior to genuine Spinach, yet for some reason they barely receive recognition.)

As for the bulbils, this is the part where it gets mildly frustrating and confusing. In most of the sites I read through, they were barely acknowledged as anything other than propagation material. If recognized as anything else, it was usually as medicinal: they've been proven to have anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer and hepatoprotective qualities, and they may also increase nitric oxide levels in the brain (a minor red flag for me, but I'll get back to that later). A few places went so far as to call them inedible without elaborating further, but that didn't make sense to me at all. The leaves, "roots" and even tender stems (shoots?) are all said to be edible, so why would a tender tuber-like bulbil not be as edible as the rest of the plant? Consider me biased, but I had to find a site that called them edible (or at the very least one that addressed the discrepancy). I found it, with this link stating that the bulbils can be roasted and eaten like chestnuts. So with that bit of info, I do intend to experiment with cooking the bulbils, as I will with the rhizomes.

Regarding the three medicinal traits (mentioned in passing here), I don't think they would detract from the edibility of the bulbils. Regarding the nitric oxide, I'm a bit more wary but also ignorant. Does cooking reduce or eliminate its precursor? (ancordin). Is nitric oxide a bad thing to have in the brain, or something neutral? The article in question (summarized in Green Deane's page here) seemed to imply that it wasn't a problem (something about low cytotoxicity?), but I may have misread that.

Whatever the case, I hope to have fun with this species. Perhaps I should call it Basell Yam... It's a tuberous vine even if it isn't a yam, and it's technically not a potato either.

Further links:

1 - http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=7980

2 - http://radix4roots.blogspot.com/2012/04/anredera-its-binahong-time.html

3 - https://www.milkwood.net/2014/07/25/madeira-vine-an-ironic-harvest/

Caesar

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The adventure begins.  :)


Caesar

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The vine has already climbed firmly on the trellis, and bulbil production has been taking off. At this point, I'm mostly getting small individual bulbils rather than the huge mega-clusters you see on some internet searches. Some of the rhizome is also visible above ground and looks pretty similar to the bulbils. It's been a while since I've tasted a leaf, but I remember it being fairly mild.

Some pics of the bulbils so far:


Caesar

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I went out and plucked some bulbils from the vine and boiled them up for 10 minutes, without plucking the leaves off. They were good! They smelled and tasted like potatoes. The leaves were slimy like okra, so if you dislike that, you might want to pluck them off. The bulbils proper were nice and starchy, with a subtle vegetal taste (like a very mild spinach chasing the potato flavor, likely because they were young). The next batch of bulbils I pluck will be deep fried. I look forward to roasting a few as well, once production picks up.

All in all, this plant has been a very pleasant surprise. From the looks of things, it seems very useful as a security crop, more vigorous and precocious than the air potato. I will keep propagating and using it as a food crop, but my recommendation comes with a warning that cannot be understated: please, handle with care, as it is potentially very invasive.

Raw bulbils in a cup, cooked bulbils on my hand:


shot

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« Last Edit: March 31, 2019, 10:04:12 PM by shot »

Caesar

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https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014488614003537

nitric oxide pathway in brain

read all https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/diabetes-resources/definitions/nitric-oxide/

Thank you for that information!

From what I could tell, it seems nitric oxide is generally a good thing to have, within reasonable amounts and barring any excesses. The question still remains, though, whether its precursor (ancordin in this case) is destroyed by cooking or not. If it is, and if you're planning on using it medicinally, then the bulbils would best be consumed raw (the rhizome is also edible raw), or dehydrated. I've actually seen a lot of Anredera bulbil powder being sold on eBay for medicinal purposes.

I hope to learn more about medicinal plants, as I'm woefully deficient in that area. That said, I'm mainly growing this one for food.

shot

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http://www.eattheweeds.com/tag/anredera-vesicaria/
Good question cooking
Seems like very stable protein band
Have you seen the page above

Caesar

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I have, but I didn't quite understand the implications of the cited studies (besides the species having the nitric oxide precursor). The ones you cited provided good context. And the precursor being heat-stable bodes well for its use as a nutraceutical (diet as preventative medicine). If my vine gets productive enough, I may make it a regular part of my diet. Gotta keep the brain in good health. Just gotta remember not to overdo it.

 

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