Its my new mission in life: I will learn how to prepare taro for eating!
Every part of the taro plant is edible and, in fact, its so nutritious and digestible that even people with acute food allergies can safely eat poi (pounded taro). Taro is cultivated in over 60 countries around the world but the Hawaiians love their kalo with an unrivaled passion. Different parts of the plant are called either the child or the parent, a linguistic representation of how important taro is to their culture.
The grocery store sells both taro corms and taro leaves in the produce department. Ive long desired to prepare and eat my own taro - taro with coconut milk, kulolo (taro pudding), mashed taro and sweet potato, delicious chunks of taro in my stews, etc. With the availability of taro here in Hawaii, my dreams are well within my grasp.
The problem with preparing taro is that there is something called calcium oxylate in every part of the raw taro plant. If the taro is cooked properly, these crystals dissolve and no problem - if not, they irritate the mouth and you feel like your airway is collapsing with every bite. For some reason, even though I follow directions to the letter (and often cook the taro down for hours beyond the alloted time) I still cant get those damn crystals to break down! Mr A is starting to think that Im trying to off him quietly!
Ive noticed that frequently changing the cooking water seems to help speed the process, but beyond that, Im stumped.
There is a way to cook taro properly and I am going to figure out what the trick is. Obviously, recipe books are not going to help me here. I need to go straight to the source. I need to ask my Samoan friends how they cook their taro so I can figure out what Im doing wrong.