For an edible crop with a difference hunt out Canna edulis ‘Red Edge’ at your local garden centre. ‘Red Edge’ is a striking form of ornamental Canna, one of Ancient Inca food crops. It is very easy to grow and the flowers are very similar to the ornamental Canna. Arrowroot is derived from the rhizome of Canna edulis and it’s a great year round food source. As it dies back a little in the colder months be sure to harvest it at this time of the year.
The contrasting red edged foliage is stunning when grown in a large pot as an ornamental plant in full sun or part shade. It’s the perfect plant for a patio and alfresco area and the only pests that attack are slugs and snails. If grown well Canna edulis can be harvested in as little as 6 months from planting. Harvest tubers regularly when young as they tend to become quite fibrous when they mature. The tubers can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted or grilled on the BBQ.
Arrowroot does not have a lot of flavour on its own and added to other ingredients tends to take on the flavour of other vegetables. Peel the tubers when preparing them. Slices of tubers can be baked in the oven to make crispy chips. The tubers can be ground into flour, used as a thickener for sauces or a substitute for wheat flour.