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Getting Lucky With the Lucky Clover

October 8, 2011

(Yes, yes, I know Oxalis tetraphylla is really a woodsorrel, not a clover, but I guess we all know it as “lucky clover”.)

I remember walking around the Arche Noah (an Austrian seed saving organisation) plant market (was that last year or two years ago?) with an acquaintance from a gardening forum, and seeing a few little “lucky clover” plants tagged as “woodsorrel turnips” or something like that. I said something along the lines of “oh, hadn’t realized you could eat those, too”, and my acquaintance said, “well, of course you can,” but they were soon forgotten again.

The one thing I thought about it was, “must be a time-consuming thing to harvest and cook, though.”

Because I only knew the tiny little bulbs I’d sometimes found in the pots of my mother’s amaryllises when I repotted them… I wouldn’t want to clean them to cook with:

Maybe, I thought, they would get a little bigger if they weren’t completely “starved” like our plants (my mother and I both aren’t too good about feeding our plants regularly)… maybe like this:

Still tiny enough that I wouldn’t fancy cleaning them for the kitchen.

So imagine my surprise when I emptied out the window boxes (one of which had Oxalis tetraphylla in it, just because I like it) and found this:

This certainly explains why the seller at the market had tagged them as “turnips”!

I got a whole lot of them:

In the middle, the original 25 or so bulbs I planted, a little bigger maybe, and with the leaves still on them (I’ll leave them until they’ve dried, so that they can still store some of the nutrients from the leaves in the bulbs).

On the right, 400 g (not quite one pound) of “turnips” – I have no idea what to do with them yet, can’t find any recipes, but I guess I’ll just steam a few to see what they taste like and then decide what to do with the rest.

And on the left, all the little bulbs that have formed this year – over 130 (yes, I counted). I’m a little afraid… it might not come as a surprise that i can’t bear to leave a single bulb un-planted… 130 little bulbs, plus 25 big ones… and if they keep multiplying like this…

Well, I’ll just have to give some away, I guess. A New Year gift for everyone at whichever party I end up this year… and then we’ll see if they get as lucky as I did!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2011 00:49

    Holy cow! I never knew they’d do that! I always get frustrated trying to grow these as a houseplant and throw them out. Maybe I’ll try growing them outdoors next summer!

  2. October 9, 2011 03:30

    I’m not sure if I can even remember what a turnip tastes like, it’s been so long since I had one. I’ll bet they’re nutritious. Maybe cook them like beets, with a little olive oil, salt and pepper to bring out the true flavor. Or make a stew with them? I can’t wait to hear what they taste like! I didn’t realize they could get so big, either!

  3. October 9, 2011 12:08

    Best friend and I tossed one in with the soup we were making yesterday – she said it tasted like a potato to her, I was more reminded of cooked kohlrabi (though that might just be because it had a similar texture)… maybe a little hint of a sour taste. I’m still not sure what I’ll do with them (I have the same problem with all the kohlrabi I’ve planted), but I liked it!

  4. December 15, 2017 13:38

    Can you eat the greens as well, I wonder?

    • December 15, 2017 18:47

      I suppose so, but I would not eat them in large amounts, because they contain oxalic and large amounts of that can cause health problems, iirc.


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