Achocha Babies

The achocha seeds my friend sent me from Bhutan are up and growing. He sent varieties from the Bumthang Valley and some from another area near his home. He said the plant is well known there and the name translated means "Crows beak."

I first encountered this plant when a friend in Bolivia sent me some a few years back. It's a vigorous vine, needing a trellis similar to a grape arbor, or a good fence. The fruits are somewhat okra-shaped and are used fried, stuffed and baked and several other ways. The flavor is somewhat like cooked sweet peppers, although it gets called a "cucumber." The leaves and young shoots smell cucumber-like, and our Chinese friend, Eddie Chong, made a tasty dish of the shoots with some ginger, garlic and soy sauce.

I'm excited to be trying 2 new varieties of achocha this year. You can read more about the plant in Lost Crops of the Incas, Little Known Plants of the Andes with Promise for Worldwide Cultivation. And for additional information see this listing of varieties.

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