Nutrition facts for oca, ulluco, and mashua

I’ve had a few customers ask about the nutrition data for oca, which set me on a search.  I was surprised that it is not all that easy to come by, as it seems like a fairly popular crop in New Zealand, but I didn’t turn up much.  The main source that I found was a paper titled Nutritional Evaluation of Three Underexploited Andean Tubers: Oxalis tuberosa (Oxalidaceae), Ullucus tuberosus (Basellaceae), and Tropaeolum tuberosus (Tropaeolaceae) by Steven R. King and Stanley N. Gershoff.  This paper provides some basic composition data, although little about vitamins and minerals, though I was able to find a little more, particularly about vitamin C content, in other sources.  So, I calculated the median where ranges of values were given or where I had more than one source, converted the available numbers from dry weight to wet weight, and whipped up some nutrition labels.  Since the main source also covered ulluco and mashua, which we also grow, I produced labels for them as well.  (As a side note, the Internet is full of nutrition claims based on the dry weight of the tubers, which are highly misleading.)

These should be used as a gross generalization at best (although that is probably always the case with labels that provide a single number).  I have no idea if oca nutrition is similar when grown in lowland New Zealand or the American Pacific Northwest compared to high elevation cultivation in the Andes, but I would guess that there are some significant differences.  There may also be differences between oca varieties – the paper that I mentioned above shows very wide ranges for carbohydrate and protein content for oca taken from different areas – up to three or four hundred percent in some cases.  But, these are the numbers that are available and they may be better than nothing.

You are welcome to take these images and use them for your own purposes, although it would be a good idea to provide a link to this page in case I update them in the future.

Oca (Oxalis tuberosa)

Ulluco (Ullucus tuberosus)

Mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum)

Oca, ulluco, and mashua are sometimes available in our seed shop.

6 thoughts on “Nutrition facts for oca, ulluco, and mashua

  1. belle says:

    Great article ! thanks for sharing..
    I am interested in the inulin content of mashua… do you have any information? or suggested leads??

    help appreciated:)

    thank you:)

    • Bill Whitson says:

      Hi Belle. To the best of my knowledge, mashua doesn’t contain a significant amount of inulin. I have not seen it mentioned in any nutritional analysis of mashua, although the information that is available is fairly rudimentary. I am also pretty sensitive to inulin and have never had troubles eating mashua, so that’s a second bit of evidence. I am in contact with a researcher who is doing a thesis on the nutritional value of mashua, so we should know more in a year or two.

  2. Wai says:

    Hi, can you tell me if Oca and Ulluco contain lectins? As I’m on a lectin-free diet. Also my mum is avoiding oxalates so she avoids Oca, but could she eat Ulluco? Thank you :)

    • bill says:

      All plants contain lectins. I am not aware of any studies of the composition or concentration of lectins in these crops though. Since they are not traditionally prepared in ways that are precautionary for high lectin concentrations, it is probably safe to assume that the levels are not very high.

      Ulluco has insignificant oxalate content.

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