Tropaeolum tuberosum 'Ken Aslet'
Mashua’s colorful tubers are eaten in similar ways to the potatoes it developed alongside in the high Andes. Its rounded leaves and deep orange flowers make it an easily recognizable cousin of Nasturtium. The leaves and flowers are edible, with a mustard-like spiciness, and when in full glorious bloom the striking tubular flowers create a paradise for pollinators, specifically hummingbirds. We like to eat mashua raw, sliced thinly in salads, tasting like very spicy radishes or used as you would water chestnuts, as a raw crunchy surprise in miso soups. The best way to cook them is to toss them in olive oil, garlic and salt and bake them with a medley of other root crops. Or try them mashed with potatoes at a ratio of about 1:4 and you will set a new bar of divine yumminess for your tastebuds.
Water: Moderate, needs regular watering
Hardiness: Frost Hardy
Habit: 8' to 12' tall, prefers a trellis in exchange for producing more tubers
Light: Full Sun where temperatures do not often exceed 80°F, otherwise plant in partial shade
Soil: Well-draining soil
Origin: The Andes
Additional Characteristics: Edible Flower