List of vegetables that start with A
Awapuhi is our featured veggie that starts with A
This plant originated in India, was distributed eastward through Polynesia and introduced to these islands in the canoes of early settlers. The leaves and leaf stalks, which are also fragrant, were used in baking in the imu, underground oven, to enhance the flavor of pork and fish as they cooked. Traditionally, the aromatic underground roots/rhizomes were sliced, dried and pounded to a powder, then added to the folds of stored kapa/tapa cloth. The spicy-smelling fresh roots were pounded and used as medicine for indigestion and other ailments. The roots can be stored in a cool, dark place to keep for use when needed. In traditional use, the root was ground in a stone mortar with a stone pestle, was mixed with a ripe noni fruit and then used to treat severe sprains. The pulp was placed in a cloth and loosely bound around the injured area. The dressing was changed daily until the sprain healed. The warmth of the afternoon sun could also be beneficial to the injured part.
`Awapuhi kuahiwi is a perennial, so from autumn until spring it becomes dormant above ground as the leaf stalks die away. In the spring the plant springs up anew. The 10-12 blade-shaped leaves grow to 6-8 inches on the approximately 3 foot long stalks. The leaves grow in an alternate arrangement on the upright, thin, fleshy stalk. Among the leaf stalks, the conical or club-shaped flower heads burst forth upon their separate and shorter stalks. These appear in the summer, after the leaf stalks have been growing for awhile.
They would take the "roots" of `awapuhi-kuahiwi, wash them, and then grind them in a stone mortar with a stone pestle. Then they would add water to the ground-up material, and finally strain the mixture through the fibers of makaloa, a Hawaiian sedge (it looks a little like a grass). The clear liquid would then be drunk to cure a stomach ache.
The juice can be used to quench thirst when out walking in the forest and can be combined with Mountain Apples as a meal.
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