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Goose (Ibia, Papa oca) – Benefits, Nutritional Properties and More

February 3, 2023
Goose (Ibia, Papa oca) - Benefits

If you are a lover of vegetables, especially tubers, you will love to meet the goose. Read on to learn about its nutritional properties, health benefits, consumption options, as well as frequently asked questions and fun facts about the goose potato.

What is the goose?

The oca (Oxalis tuberosa), ibia or papa oca, is a traditional Andean tuber that, together with olluco , mashua and potatoes , represents one of the most cultivated foods in this region. The tubers of the goose are generally long, narrow, and brightly colored, mostly red, yellow, or orange. Its flavor is slightly milder and sweeter than that of potatoes, and like other tubers in the region, the goose potato can be eaten in several ways: boiled, baked, in stews or fried.

Nutritional properties of the goose

In general, the goose is nutritionally similar to the potato ; Although it has almost 20% fewer calories per serving and half of its protein, the carbohydrate and fiber content are similar in both tubers. Instead, the goose is much richer in vitamin C than the potato.

It is also very high in iron, although this can vary according to the iron content of the soil in which it has been grown. Goose is a valuable source of nutritionally significant pigments, such as anthocyanins and carotenoids, whose presence is evident due to the wide variety of colors that its skin and meat can have. Other important nutrients in this tuber are vitamins K and A.

Nutritional table of the goose (100 g):

  • Water: 87 g
  • Calories: 73.5
  • Protein: 0.8 g (1.5%)
  • Grease: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.9 g (3.5%)
  • Fibra: 8 g (32%)
  • Vitamin A: 0.8%
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 0.05 mg (3.3%)
  • Vitamina B2 (Riboflavina): 0,94 mg (55%)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin): 1.09 mg (5.5%)
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): 39.7 mg (66%)
  • Calcium (Ca): 17.2 mg (1.7%)
  • Iron (Fe): 12.5 mg (70%)
  • Phosphorus (P): 28.2 mg (2.8%)
  • Zinc (Zn): 1.8 mg (11.9%)

What is potato goose for? Benefits and uses

To begin with, the goose provides significant amounts of vitamin C, one of the most important vitamins for the body. Not only does it  help the body fight infection and prevent disease , it encourages the development of healthy cells and prevents the effects of premature aging.

Goose root also provides B-complex vitamins, which  help maintain the integrity of the nervous system and even  help prevent the development of cancer .1

The goose or ibia is an excellent source of essential minerals for the body. Some varieties have been found to be so rich in iron that they contribute up to 70% of the recommended daily value. The human body needs iron to produce hemoglobin and myoglobin, proteins responsible for transporting oxygen to all cells .2

Other micronutrients contained in goose root are calcium, phosphorus and zinc, minerals necessary for all cells in our body. They also play a very important role in the formation, development and maintenance of teeth and bones .

The goose potato contains a significant amount of fiber, which is ideal for promoting digestion, preventing constipation, regulating blood cholesterol levels and maintaining heart health .3

If you are trying to reduce the number of calories you consume per day, this tuber can be a source of healthy carbohydrates . It is rich in vitamins, nutrients and has a relatively low caloric content (approximately 20% less than potatoes).

Thanks to its nutritional properties, the goose potato is also beneficial for:

  • Improve brain function
  • Incorporate digestive enzymes
  • Improve vision
  • Improve immunity
  • Treat anemia
  • Control blood pressure
  • Treat Alzheimer’s disease

How do you eat the goose?

All parts of the plant can be eaten, both raw and cooked, however the tubers are the most consumed part. They can be eaten raw after several days of sun exposure to increase their natural sweetness, or they can be cooked to use as a substitute in recipes that call for potatoes, carrots or any other  root vegetable .

The leaves can be eaten raw as part of a salad. The stems are also edible, although they are a bit acidic; some people use them as a substitute for rhubarb or gooseberries in a cake. The flowers of the goose are small and have a mild flavor, however they are rarely gathered for food.

In the Andes, a kind of goose jam is made, and an alcoholic drink known as chicha de oca is even prepared.

Like many vegetables, goose lose color during cooking. A trick that you can keep in mind to preserve the most of its color is to cook it in the microwave.

Oca stew (locro) recipe:

Side effects and contraindications

People who suffer from kidney stones or gout should avoid consuming goose root, as some varieties of this tuber contain oxalic acid, about the same amount of oxalic acid as Brussels sprouts, garlic , green beans and carrots (80-200 mg per serving).

Frequent questions

Does potato goose make you fat?

If you are trying to maintain weight or want to reduce your calories to lose weight, the goose potato may be a good option. Compared to other tubers, goose has a low calorie content (approximately 20% less than potato).

This is not to say that it should be eaten deliberately. The goose potato  should be consumed in moderation and according to the energy requirements of the body .

What is the origin of the potato goose?

It is not known exactly how long the oca was cultivated, but it is believed to have preceded the Incas and to be one of the oldest Andean crops .

The probable origin and center of diversity of the goose is located in the highlands of the Andes, from Colombia to Argentina, especially in Peru and Bolivia, where there are also many wild relatives.

The goose was brought to the highlands and central Mexico in the mid to late 1700s, this being the first sustained harvest outside the Andes. Currently, it is still cultivated in these areas as red potato or mouse potato. Although the goose was exported to Europe and the United States on several occasions, efforts to cultivate it were not sustained elsewhere, with the exception of New Zealand where it has been cultivated since the second half of the 19th century; there it is known as New Zealand yam.

How to keep the goose?

In general terms of storage, goose can be kept for several weeks similar to potato, in cool, well-ventilated areas. It can also be sliced ​​and dried, without losing its bright color, and later made an attractive addition to any stew, soup or meal.

What is the goose plant like?

The goose plant is a shrub with thick, succulent stems and clover-like leaves. These plants grow to about 45 cm in height and 91 cm in diameter. In cold and humid climates they are able to compete and suffocate weeds.

Because the goose plant is attractive and has a long growing season, it can be used as an ornamental plant.

Under ground, the goose forms tubers that reach a maximum size of approximately 20 cm long and 4 cm wide, although most often the roots only reach half this size. The tubers are usually colorful, with a shiny, waxy skin that is easily shed.

How is the goose grown?

The cultivation of the goose is similar to the cultivation of the potato. The tubers are usually planted directly into the ground after the lowest winter temperatures, around May, and are harvested before the first frosts in October / November.

The harvest is very easy; It is not necessary to dig deep to remove the tubers, as they grow close to the surface of the soil.

What does it taste like?

The flavors are subjective, however common descriptions of the flavor of cooked goose point towards a mix between potato and carrot. Some describe it as a taste similar to winter squash.

What other names does it have?

Oca is also known as papa oca, ibia, New Zealand yam, New Zealand yam, red potato, mouse potato, foreign potato, cubio, uqa, quiba, cuiba, and huasisai. Its scientific name is Oxalis tuberosa.


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My name is Louise Hammond, and I am the creator of this website, a place to find information about tubers, bulbs and medicinal roots. In I show the properties, benefits, characteristics, photos and images, ways of growing and how to make delicious meals from starchy vegetables.