Thursday, January 28, 2016

Water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis)

Eleocharis dulcis is commonly known as water chestnut or Chinese water chestnut. The edible part of the plant is the underground corm, which is typically harvested when the plant dies down in the fall.

Prepare water chestnuts for eating by peeling away the brown covering on the corm. Inside you'll find the white edible portion. It can be eaten raw or cooked.

Water chestnut prefers to grow in boggy soils, or submerged under a few inches of water. The hollow leaves grow to about 1.5 feet tall, giving it a grassy appearance.

Water chestnuts are easy to grow in backyard ponds or water gardens. Even a 5-gallon bucket will do. Simply plant them in the spring and they will continue to multiply throughout the growing season. Here's the result of one season of growth in a 10-inch diameter pot:

Eleocharis dulcis is native to Southeast Asia and Australia. It is perennial in USDA Zones 8-11. In colder regions, the corms can be dug and stored in wet refrigeration for the winter, then re-planted in early spring. A full sun or mostly sunny location is preferred.

Here's a short video on growing and harvesting water chestnuts from a 5-gallon bucket: