Tsenza (African Potato)


Plectranthus esculentus

Tsenza is a true African Heirloom and is considered one of the lost African crops.

Arne Verhoef has been collecting and growing Tsenza or the African potato for a number of years now. He is well known in organic and permaculture circles and is a massive supporter of indigenous foods and a vast amount of credit needs to go to him as a curator of this rare vegetable crop.

Tsenza used to be very widely grown and cultivated across the country. However with the introduction of modern agricultura practices, its use and cultivation has fallen away. Tsenza is well acclimated to numerous soil types and growing conditions. SANBI lists this as a DDD (Data deficient) plant and although well-known botanically, there is very little information on its cultivation status.

So why is Tsenza so interesting? Well here are a few facts that should really interest you:

  • It is THE MOST nutritious tuber vegetable of all tuber vegetables.
  • It is 80% starch.
  • Contains 13 essential amino acids.
  • Has many other important vitamins and minerals like Calcium, Iron and Vitamin C etc.
  • It can be eaten both raw and cooked.
  • It is generally used much like potatoes and has a better flavour raw than potatoes do. They can be added to meals like the common potato, eaten raw, fried like chips or roasted with Sunday lunch.

5 fingers

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