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Water chestnuts

Water chestnuts

Trapa natans is the scientific name of the plant more commonly known as Water Chestnut. It belongs to the Trapaceae family and is native to the Eurasian and African continent. Floating aquatic plant that uses its long roots to anchor itself firmly to the seabed, reaching even five meters in depth. It grows in marshy and little moved waters where it reproduces spontaneously and easily. The cultivation of this vegetable has been witnessed for several millennia, especially in China. In fact, it is grown not only for ornamental purposes but also for the edibility of the bull-shaped seed that they produce after flowering, it is used in cooking and for natural pharmacological remedies. The foliage of the water chestnuts is floating and rhomboid in shape, groups in the shape of a rosette, and has toothed margins.

The seeds of water chestnuts


The multiplication of water chestnuts takes place through sowing, following some simple steps. In fact, the seeds must be stored in autumn, inside a glass jar filled with water, kept away from the winter cold, in a temperate context. With the arrival of summer they can be planted in pots filled with a soil composed, in equal parts, of sand and peat. The containers with the seeds should be immersed and left under water waiting for germination. The final planting of the new small plants can take place during the following spring season. Since these are aquatic plants very resistant to parasites and diseases, if they are cultivated in favorable conditions, they can also become weeds.

Water chestnuts cultivation


Water chestnuts are floating plants suitable for growing in temperate and mild environmental contexts. In areas with a cold and harsh climate, they behave like annual plants, stripping off the vegetation that will reappear with the arrival of spring. The foliage is arranged in a rosette and is glossy green, rhomboid in shape, the flowering period begins in spring and the aquatic plant produces single white or pink flowers. To grow luxuriantly, it draws what it needs as nourishment, directly from the substances present in the water, through its long and supple roots. All kinds of soil are suitable for the cultivation of these floating plants. They adapt well to both a sunny and partial shade exposure.

Curiosities of water chestnuts


The fruits produced by water chestnuts have been used in cooking for centuries. In fact, in addition to being edible, they are a good source of dietary fiber, rich in carbohydrates, starch, potassium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6. The flavor is sweet and delicate. The seeds that resemble the shape of a bull’s head are eaten in Asia boiled, raw, marinated or grilled. Flours obtained from fruit processing have been used in Italy for centuries, as well as being used, the seeds, in various recipes of the Po Valley and foothills gastronomic tradition. Even in herbal medicine the water chestnut is renowned for some of its characteristics, in fact both the leaves and the seeds are used as soothing, anti-diarrheal and refreshing. Furthermore, it is an ingredient also used in natural cosmetics,

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