This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cinnamon Vine

 Last winter while going through my Ethnobotanical Catalog of Seeds I came across a plant I hadn't noticed before. The name is Cinnamon Vine, apparently the flowers have the scent of cinnamon when they bloom, so that's where it got its name.
 The plant has another common name, Air Potato, because the fruits resemble a small potato growing on the stem of the vine and not underground like a regular potato.
  In early Spring I planted some of the tiny "potatoes" in pots so I could bring them in on cold nights, and hoped for the best. They started sprouting rather quickly and as the soil began to warm up later on in the Spring I planted them outside under a home made trellis right next to my Mango Melons . Unfortunately as the season progressed so did the aggressive Morning Glory's and they covered up the cinnamon Vine pretty well so I never got a chance to see the flowers or to smell them to see if they smelled like Cinnamon or not.    Like most people who work 5 days a week, my garden falls prey to all the opportunistic plants whose seeds have been waiting all winter to explode into growth, and I don't always have time to clean them out.
  As the summer progressed I would check the vines now and again and finally one day I started to see some '"potatoes" forming on the vines. Very excited I cleaned the Morning Glory away from the vines to give them as much sun as possible to help them grow and in a few weeks they were ready to taste.
  The "potatoes" are very small and can be eaten raw or cooked. I tried both. Raw, they had that potato crunch when biting into them and had a white flesh the same consistency as a potato also. I grabbed a palm full of the "potatoes", threw them in a pot, added water and brought them to a boil and cooked then till they were soft. To my amazement they tasted just like a potato! So, of course I grabbed some Organic Butter, salt and pepper and seasoned them as I would a regular potato. They were good! Unfortunately I had barely two bites before these small veggies were gone. Too bad they don't get bigger, I could make a meal out of them.
  Supposedly the roots get big like a potato and are also edible. After taking all I could get from one of the vines, I dug it up to check out the roots, unfortunately they ware very small and not worth taking. Maybe the plant needs to be a few years old for the roots to get large enough to eat. I will see next year if the plants survive the Winter.
  I didn't eat most of the Air Potatoes, I saved them to plant next year to increase my yield. So glad to have a new Edible in my garden!