Lotus is a staple food throughout China, Southeast Asia and India. Lotus leaves, stems, tubers, seeds and flowers are all relished. When asking for edible lotus, the focus is on the lotus tuber. A lotus tuber is the primary growth of the lotus plant in the mud. Lotus tubers look like sausages linked together, with unique air passages on the inside. Once harvested, washed and peeled the lotus tuber may be sliced, boiled or stir fried. The tuber has a mild flavor, with a crisp texture. Lotus are cooked with other vegetables, pickled in vinegar or candied as a dessert. Young tubers are favorites for salads, while mature tubers are used for soups.
Edible lotus are the focus of many research centers throughout China. Researchers look for ways to maximize the yield per hectare, improved growth and vigor and better disease resistance. Edible lotus typically grow in deeper water, making them more challenging to harvest. Today’s new cultivars maybe successfully grown in soil depth of as little as 6 inches (15 cm), with 10 inches (25 cm) of water on top. Growing in these conditions make it much easier to harvest the tubers. Strides are being made to produce a “whiter tuber”, which is more appealing and some varieties with a sweeter taste.
Bergen Water Gardens is pleased to offer a limited number of edible lotus varieties for sale in 2018:
Sufeng 1 Edible Lotus
Sufeng 1 was developed using “space technology” from the popular “Cailan 2”, which is one of the original “space varieties”. Sufeng 1 was introduced in 2015. Sufeng 1 grows in shallow water and features a white skin. It has a crisp character and the entire piece maybe consumed. This variety is ideal to eat fresh in a salad or as a fresh fruit; just like an apple!
Ju Wu Ba Edible Lotus
Ju Wu Ba was developed at the Aquatic Vegetable Research Institute, released in 2018. This new hybrid is quickly becoming the most popular edible lotus. Ju Wu Ba produces a strong, large tuber and is prolific grower. Ju Wu Ba has a bonus of a white flower as it grows. Plants grow to 66 inches (170 cm) with a leaf diameter of up to 39 inches (100cm). Ju Wu Ba primary tubers will have 5 to 7 sections, with a total length of 31 to 118 inches (80 to 300 cm)! The diameter of this tuber will be 3.3 inches (8.5 cm). Ju Wu Ba will grow in shallow water, making it easier to harvest. The skin is a yellow and white color and crisp texture. Ju Wu Ba maybe used in salads, deep fried or in soups. Ju Wu Ba is translated as biggest and “no one can compare with it – the best”. Ju Wu Ba is the name given to McDonald’s Big Mac in China. Big Mac is often the common English name used for this edible lotus
Space Edible Lotus
Space lotus is a new edible lotus introduced in 2018. Space may produce tubers longer the Ju Wu Ba, often weighing up to 20 lbs. Space lotus will grow in shallow water. The tuber is white, crisp and tender. Space is a vigorous grower, producing many tubers.