Have you ever eaten a lion's head and never seen a water chestnut? Water chestnuts from Zhenggang and Taiwan are sweet and rare, and water chestnuts are extremely scarce.

Published: 2024-07-13 Author: mysheen
Last Updated: 2024/07/13, Have you ever eaten a lion's head and never seen a water chestnut? Water chestnuts from Zhenggang and Taiwan are sweet and rare, and water chestnuts are extremely scarce.

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If you want to discuss which crop has the lowest profile and can make the finishing point, water chestnut is definitely on the list! It can be seen everywhere in traditional desktop and Chinese cuisine that the crisp and vigorous taste of the classic New year dish Lion head can be attributed to water chestnut. However, due to the laborious planting of water chestnut, a small number of water chestnut farmers withered with the growth of years, so the domestic planting area continues to decline.

Xu Zhong, a master of food materials, said that there will be sugarcane aroma when water chestnuts are imported, and most of the water chestnuts sold in the market come from China, but they are far less than the aroma of domestic water chestnuts. Yu Bifang, a senior Chinese chef, said that water chestnuts should be plump, feel solid and must be skinned. "Water chestnuts with skins can be kept for a long time."

Water chestnut with soil (Photography / Lin Yijun) Water chestnut is an aquatic herb. Sweet potato, black taro and horseshoe are all water chestnuts.

The correct pronunciation of water chestnut is "water chestnut'. There are many other names for water chestnut, such as horse potato, horseshoe, ground chestnut, black taro, Bodhi chestnut, pear and peony." Liu Xuanchuan, a book in the later Han Dynasty, was called "the Compendium of Materia Medica" until the emergence of the Compendium of Materia Medica. Li Shizhen said: "Black taro, its root is like taro, and the color is black." Fu likes to eat it, so Erya is called a water chestnut. " At this point, the title of water chestnut has been decided.

Water chestnut originates in India, North Africa, Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, Australia and South China, and is a perennial aquatic herb, while Taiwan is mostly distributed in Taichung, Changhua and Chiayi. Water chestnut has a stolon in the ground, the front end will expand into a bulb, but the underground stem of Taiwan native water chestnut will not bear bulbs, the aboveground stem surface will be green, will be clustered, and finally produce brown flowers and fruit.

Zhang Zhiming's organic water chestnut field (photo courtesy of / Zhang Zhiming) water chestnut nutrition, potassium content is higher than banana, domestic water chestnut is fragrant and sweet

Water chestnut tastes sweet and crisp and is rich in protein, fat, crude fiber, carotene, vitamin B, vitamin C, iron, calcium and carbohydrates. According to the data of the Food Nutrition composition Database of the Ministry of Weifu, water chestnut is rich in minerals, in which potassium content is as high as 461mg, even higher than bananas.

As the fiber of water chestnut is spherical, easy to absorb sundries can help clean up the intestines, water chestnuts can be eaten in a variety of ways, can be eaten raw (to thoroughly remove the bud eye and skin), can also be cooked and eaten.

Almost all water chestnuts are used in Chinese cuisine, including lion head and Babao pills commonly found in New year dishes, daily shrimp rolls and Taiwanese stew soup, and horseshoe powder is also made from water chestnuts for dessert. Xu Zhong explains that there are few kinds of water chestnuts in China, and most of the water chestnuts sold in the market come from China. "when water chestnuts are imported, there will be sugarcane aroma, but the aroma and sweetness of Chinese water chestnuts are not as sweet as those of domestic water chestnuts."

Water chestnuts will bring crisp taste to the cuisine, and there are also sweet potatoes that can achieve this effect, but Xu Zhong believes that the taste and taste of water chestnuts and sweet potatoes are quite different. The sweet rhyme and taste of water chestnuts are eaten raw like pears, and the sweet rhyme and taste of water chestnuts are relatively beautiful. The same cuisine will have differences in ingredients in different regions. Take Babao pills in Pingdong as an example, Pingdong Babao pills will use sweet potatoes, while Tainan's Babao pills will use water chestnuts.

Yu Bifang demonstrated that the Lion Club, a classic New year dish, added water chestnuts (photo courtesy / Dongya chef). The peak of water chestnuts has passed, and water chestnuts are extremely rare.

Water chestnut was once a must-grow crop for every household in Puyan Township, Changhua County. at its peak, there were more than 100 hectares of water chestnut. According to the data of the Council of Agriculture, the planting area of water chestnut in Taiwan in 2019 is only 5.97 hectares, and the annual output is only more than 100 metric tons. Although data over the past decade show that there are Changhua Xihu, Yanpu, and Tanaka in the water chestnut producing areas, the actual calls to ask the peasant associations in these areas are quite strange to the farmers' associations.

Water chestnut farmers are even rarer. Zhang Zhiming, the only organic water chestnut farmer in Taiwan, has been growing organic taro in Waipu, Taichung, for about 35 years. 15 to 20 years ago, when he visited the south, he happened to see water chestnuts growing with rice. Because he thought it was interesting, he began to learn to grow water chestnuts. "at that time, there were already very few people growing water chestnuts."