Water chestnut 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

6.18.13 Sweet Corm

I guess the photo tips you off that isn't a typo. And the gardeners out there are probably familiar with a corm. Also known as a bulbotuber, it's a short, swollen underground plant stem that's like a bulb, though when cut in half it appears solid rather than layered. That's what a water chestnut is—the corm of a grass-like sedge that grows in marshes, underwater in the mud. Eleocharis dulcis is native to China and cultivated in flooded paddy fields all over Asia, as well as in warmer stateside climates like California and Florida. You've undoubtedly eaten them at your local Chinese restaurant, maybe even opened a can of them to add to your stir-fries. I've always enjoyed their satisfyingly juicy crunch and slightly bland, sweet flavor, not unlike jícama. But only recently did I try fresh water chestnuts and the scales fell from my eyes.