Master Gardener Glen brought me some crosnes, which he grows and harvests. What are crosnes and why would anyone eat them? The crosne, pronounced “crone” or “crow-sn” is a member of the mint family, Stachys affinis, and produces these neat little segmented tubers resembling beetle larvae.
Crosnes are native to China and Japan but take their name from Crosne, France, where the locals began cultivating them, after importing them from China, in the 1880’s.
The tubers are about ½ to 1 inch in length, with a texture that is crunchy and has a slightly sweet taste. Their real attraction lies in their funky shapes that make interesting additions to salads. They can also be pickled.
The crosne is a perennial and tubers can be planted in the fall or spring in a location receiving 6 or more hours of direct uninterrupted sunlight daily. Since it is a member of the mint family, give it plenty of room to spread. The healthier the plant, the more tubers are produced. Once the plants have died back at the end of the growing season, plants are dug and the crosnes harvested. Be sure to save back some of the bigger crosnes to plant for next year!