A small growing annual or biennial with a bulbous root and fern-like foliage. Both are edible although the plant is primarily grown for its root that has been described as a sugar radish. It is a member of the cress family and as such the leaves have a slightly pepper-like flavour.
Varies in flavour between nutty and pungent depending on growing conditions. As it grows and cooks like a parsnip or turnip, it also partners well with flavours like cinnamon, chives, rosemary and garlic. Once dried and turned into a powder, it can be used in a multi of ways – sweet, savoury, drinks, smoothies etc.
High in vitamin C and copper, it is also a good source of dietary fibre and iron. It is eaten as a baked root or a powder made from the dried root. A cup of raw Maca (50gms) has only 90 calories and is low in saturated fat. Grate raw roots to add crunch to salads or have it mashed, roasted or sautéed. Leaves can be used in salads and sandwiches as a cress alternative. The most common way of using it is baked, dried and turned into a powder. Like so many superfoods from southern America, it is supposed to cure all ills of man plus increase endurance, energy levels and sexual vitality.
Prefers a part sun position (afternoon shade) that is moist but not wet. Doesn’t like being too hot and dry and needs to avoid extreme frosts. Depending on local conditions, Maca will grow well in part to full shade, moist to medium dry and a range of soil types. It flowers in early summer.
Regular applications of Seasol and PowerFeed will keep it healthy and growing. Pick leaves when young and harvest roots at 10-12 weeks.
|Position||PART TO FULL SUN, MODERATE FROST|