Ocas are something new from an ancient culture. Riding the trend for healthy food, they originate from Peru, a country blending Spanish, African, Japanese and Chinese cultures. Predating the Incas as a staple crop of the high Andes, ocas were exported to Europe and the United States on many occasions but did not catch on until the 1970s.
They are a sought-after delicacy available in a range of patterns, this winter crop is at its peak growing season when days are shorter. Their shiny, waxy skin cleans easily, and is available in a mix of pink and cream; the pink tubers turn pale-yellow when cooked. Ocas are 2”-6” long and no more than 1-1/2” wide.
When eaten raw, ocas are slightly tangy, with the texture of a crunchy carrot. Cooked, ocas have the flavor and consistency of cooked potato and carrot, potato with sour cream or even winter squash. Nutritionally similar to potatoes, ocas are richer in vitamin C. They are also high in iron and potassium, as well as vitamins A and B6.
Raw tubers are served with salt, lemon and hot pepper. They can also be boiled, baked or fried as a potato would be. Substitute ocas in recipes − such as stews and soups − calling for potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables. This delicacy is often served on slices of raw fish that is dressed in flavorful sauce, or on grilled skewers of marinated meats and shellfish. As a sweet, ocas can be used in place of rhubarb or gooseberries when baking pie.
Contact a knowledgeable Product Specialist at 800-289-4644 to answer your questions about Oca, get help with product suggestions, recipe inspirations and menu planning.