The Oca (also known as the New Zealand Yam) is a colorful tuner widely grown in Andean countries like Bolivia and Peru. It bears a visual resemblance to sweet potatoes, but isn’t a potato at all, being more closely related to sorel plants. Oca can be baked, steamed, or in some cases fried or eaten raw. It is a hardy plant that does well in sandy soil, partial shade and New Zealand-like climate conditions, but which must be protected from extreme heat or serious drought.
- Oca is a New Zealand-based yam that comes in a waxy, tube form, and it is considered a perennial.
- Oca was first discovered by farmers approximately 20 years ago, maybe a little bit longer.
- The presence of oxalic acid within Oca makes the taste somewhat bitterness, especially to those who are just introducing it to their diet.
“Oca is beginning to show up in Latin American markets in the U.S. It is a fruitful perennial that produces brightly colored, rough, waxy tubers that are best harvested in early winter. It is used as a season extending crop in many areas.”