What is a Water Chestnut?
Well, this a water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis). It’s native to Asia and grown all over the world for it’s crunchy sweet underwater corms.
Have I eaten Water Chestnut?
Yes, most likely. It’s the crunchy sweet stuff in your Chinese stir fry.
Should I eat it raw?
Probably not, you can get a nasty parasite from it. I have though (before I knew about the parasite) and it tastes a bit like a crunchy sweet apple.
Should I grow it in a pond/lake?
Definitely not. These are highly invasive. Please keep them in a container, far away from any open waters.
How do I go about growing them?
Pretty simple. You can get them in most Asian stores for about 20-25 cents each.
1) First you need to sprout them
- Put them in a bowl of water
- Change the water daily
- Locate them in a sunny spot (they will sprout faster)
- Fill a large container with 3 to 4 inches of dirt (they seem to like all kinds of dirt).
- Plant the chestnuts in the dirt.
- Add another 2 to 3 inches of water to the container. The green shoots need to stick out of the water.
- Watch them grow.
What about mosquitoes?
Good question and we have a solution for that too:
- Get some mosquito dunks – these don’t hurt anything but the mosquitoes
- Get a betta fish (or similar) – these will feast on the mosquito larva and will be much happier in your chestnut container than in those little fish containers. Just remember that these are tropical fish, you need to bring them inside when it gets cold.
- Replace the water every week or so. You can use it to water your garden!
Here is a video if you would like more information.