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  Re: Taro vs. Elephant Ear
From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at email.msn.com> on 1998.05.18 at 12:54:19(2164)
I give this opinion as a person born and raised on the Island of Trinidad,
W.I., and who has lived in the U.S.A. for13 years and have observerd and
sought out ALL edible and ornimental Aroids, both as a hobby and as a
regular part of my diet.
The mix-up of names given to Aroids being sold in Florida is amazing, and in
an effort to "streamline" this, Lester Kallus and myself created a web page
last year that lists some of the available Aroids and some of the "common"
names they are sometimes sold under and their scientific names. You can
check this page out at--

New ones are appearing on a regular basis, and only yesterday while trying
to determine any differences between a "new" arrival from Costa Rica (?) on
sale at Winn Dixe and "red co co" from a Jamaican store, obtained another
"local name" for this new one from a lady from Nicaragua. She says that it
is called "quequisque" in her homeland, probably a Mayan word. This "new"
Xanthosoma is alreadly called "malanga lila" (lilac) by the owner of the
Jamaican store to distinguish it from the Jamaican "red co co" which is
Xanthosoma Violacium. I have checked both sets of tubers/corms closely and
am unable to distinguish between them, but they grow into VERY different
looking plants.
All of these edible aroids must be throughly cooked before eating to
neutralize the calcium oxalate crystals. Some species are MUCH worse than
others, so it is a combination of preparation/ cooking AND cultivar, so
stick to the ones available at your food stores, and I refer anyone to Deni
Bowns book for a long discussion on this.
If you would like copies of recipes for most edible aroids (including the
famous callaloo soup, e-mail me privately and I will send them to you.
These are from the talk with cooked Aroid meals that I gave at the meeting
of our Aroid society in Miami last year.
Julius Boos

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