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Video: Chufa, Earthen Almonds - Growing On The Site
Chufa is a promising culture
Every year on my personal plot I experience more and more new crops. In my collection now are sunberry, rough nightshade, strawberry spinach-raspberry, saraha, anguria, melotria, lagenaria, lofant, milk thistle, crooknek, mamordika, chufa. I would like to tell the readers about the latter.
Chufa or ground almond (Cyperus esculentus) belongs to the Sedge family. The homeland of this amazing plant is the Mediterranean and North Africa. Chufu is grown commercially on plantations in the Mediterranean countries. The Spaniards are considered great connoisseurs of this culture, who extract very useful vegetable oil from the chufa nodules. They consider it the food of the future.
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In terms of oil content (up to 28%), this crop may well be ranked among oil plants. It is especially important for human nutrition that the composition of vegetable oils contains essential fatty acids, the content of which in food products of animal origin is insufficient. And other food ingredients of chufa nuts are in an optimal ratio, which contributes to the high digestibility of this wonderful product in the human gastrointestinal tract. All this allows us to say with great confidence that in the near future the chufa will take its rightful place in our diet.
At confectionery factories in some countries, chufu is added to chocolate, cocoa, sweets, cakes, and halva is made from it. Dishes cooked with chufa flour are well absorbed by the body. Dried chufa nodules taste like a nut. Children use them as a delicacy.
The Spaniards learned to extract milk from the chufa fruit, which has healing properties and is used for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. Using a very simple technology, such milk can be prepared at home. For this, crushed fresh nodules are poured with warm boiled water in a ratio of 1: 4 (one part of nodules and four parts of water).
If the nodules are dry, they are pre-soaked in warm boiled water and passed through a meat grinder. Insist for a day, then filter, while rubbing through a fine sieve, and add sugar to taste. The drink is cooled in the refrigerator before use.
At home, marzipans can also be prepared from chufa nodules. To do this, thoroughly washed nodules are crushed with a mixer, having previously roasted them over low heat. The resulting mass is mixed with powdered sugar (2: 1), the mixture is sprinkled with cold boiled water, stirred evenly, placed in a bowl and heated over low heat. An elastic mixture forms well without adhesives. Candies of various shapes are molded from it.
Chufu, crushed in a mortar, is added to flour when baking cakes and cookies. Diet coffee can be obtained from well-dried and roasted nodules in the oven. Fried chufa is fragrant, it tastes better than even chestnut.
The aboveground part of plants is not inferior in nutritional value to cereal grasses and is used as feed for domestic animals both fresh and in the form of silage. The shoots of the chufa are sharp, triangular, growing, they close together and form a continuous green carpet, which is a spectacular sight. The bush of earthen almonds is 40-80 cm high, it consists of narrow, rigid leaves collected in bunches.
On the underground shoots of the plant, many nodules are formed (up to 500 pieces in one nest) the size of an amygdala. Hence another name for the culture - earthen almonds. The skin of the nodules is brown, the core is white. The fruits are eaten together with the skin. The nodules are elongated, oval, but sometimes almost round. Length 1-3 cm, width 0.5-1 cm.
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Growing chufa on the site
Chufa grows in almost any soil, but it feels better in lighted and fertile areas. Requires moderate watering.
Before planting, the nodules are soaked in water at room temperature for three days. When the soil warms up to 15 ° C, they are planted in a permanent place to a depth of 7-8 cm. The nodules are placed in nests of 3-4 pieces at a distance of 20 cm from each other with row spacing of 40 cm. Seedlings appear on the 8-10th day …
If climatic conditions do not allow planting a crop in mid-May, then they use a seedling method. This method is even preferable as it produces a more bountiful harvest. This is explained by the peculiarity of plant growth. More and more bunches of leaves appear above the soil surface during the entire growing season of the plant. At the same time, more and more new primordia of nodules are formed on the underground part of the plant, from which mature nodules are formed after a certain time.
Therefore, when harvesting, there are always large, medium and small nodules in the nest. Thus, the longer the growing season, the higher the yield, i.e. more large nodules. This feature of the chufa should be taken into account in the presence of a small amount of planting material and, if desired, in the first year to get as many nodules as possible.
You can also use the combined method of growing earthen almonds: part of the crop is obtained using the seedling method, and when the ground warms up, the rest of the nodules are planted directly into the soil.
In my area with chufa, I maintain sufficient moisture, loosen the soil, clear it of weeds. I huddle the plants slightly.
Chufa tolerates the first autumn frosts well. I start harvesting only when the leaves begin to dry out and turn yellow, which usually happens at the end of September. Late harvesting contributes not only to good maturation of the nodules, but also to the formation of more oil in them, the accumulation of which occurs mainly by the end of the growing season.
Harvesting is desirable in dry weather. The dug nodules are shaken off the ground on a metal mesh, washed on the same mesh with water from a hose and dried in the sun or indoors so that they become wrinkled. For storage, the crop is laid in a basement or underground (protect from mice). Chufa nodules are well preserved in indoor conditions.
The selection and storage of chufa nodules for seed purposes have some peculiarities. When harvesting, the most mature and large nodules are selected for seeds, washed in a solution of potassium permanganate, dried and stored in glass jars, filling them in 3/4 of their volume. The jar is closed with a plastic lid, placed on its side and placed on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator until spring. You can keep the jar on the windowsill, protecting it from light. The temperature for storing the chufa planting material should be positive (not lower than + 1 ° С).