Munching Madeira vine

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Madeira vine roots

A couple of weeks ago I was talking about my Madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia), which was a gift from a friend and lives on the (north-facing) kitchen windowsill. I’m not quite sure how long I’ve had it, but it’s happy there and sends out quite a volume of climbing, leafy shoots. Occasionally it gets out of hand, and I cut it back.

When it came time to do that again, I made a mental note to try eating the leaves this time, separated them out and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge. I decided the plant needed repotting, or at least resettling back into its pot, and took it out to the shed to do just that.

What I discovered were some good, chunky roots that looked pretty nice! After checking that my recollection was right, and that they are edible, I pulled off just a couple of try. They went into the fridge as well.

Roots on the Madeira (or Mignonette) vine - Anredera cordifolia

Last night a suitable occasion arose to try both the leaves and the roots. One of the meals we do occasionally involves cooking fish in foil with some herbs and vegetables and seasoning. It’s usually white fish, sitting on a bed of spinach (the sea beet from the garden is good for this) and sprinkled with fish seasoning (which seems to be mainly dill and salt). Sealed into a foil parcel on a baking tray, it goes into the oven (180°C in our fan oven) for 20-30 minutes, depending on the fish. It’s hard to overcook fish when it’s done like this, as it doesn’t dry out.

What you get is soft flakes of fish on a bed of well-seasoned spinach, and it’s lovely. Last night we used smoked haddock, which was the first trial run, and it sat on a bed of Madeira vine leaves.

We served it with roast vegetables, which we tend to do in our Halo Health Fryer, which sits on the counter and has a halogen element. It also has a paddle for stirring the food. It’s great for oven chips and things like that, and we’ve gotten good at roasting veg in it. (It can also grill, and makes great cheese on toast). Last night’s selection was roast potatoes, carrots and the madeira vine roots.

Now… even having read about it, I wasn’t really prepared for the nature of Madeira vine roots. They are… well… they do this thing… once you cut them, they produce goo. It’s like a tv special effect, both sticky and slimy, so the point where I have coined a new term for it. They create a glubricant. It makes them hard to peel, as they slide out of your fingers. It doesn’t wash off the tubers, although you can wash it off your hands with soap.

At this point Ryan and I were both dubious, but we persevered and put them in with the potatoes (roasting being reported as the best way to cook them).

Repotting the Madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia)

When it came time to eat, we were both pleasantly surprised. The Madeira vine leaves made a lovely spinach. And the roots (although we only had a couple of mouthfuls each) had entirely lost their slime and were very pleasant – very similar to a roast potato, with a mild taste, crispy outside and fluffy innards.

It was nice enough that I’m considering seeing whether I can divide the plant and give it a chance to live outside this summer. But bear in mind that Madeira vine is considered invasive in warmer climates. It won’t get out of hand in my garden, because it’s killed by frost (and I will keep it in a container), but this is one of those plants you have to treat with respect.

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Author: Emma


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