Lotus Root, 5-lb

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Lotus root is an oblong, tubular rhizome or stem that grows underground in bodies of water, averaging 5-10 centimeters in diameter and 10-20 centimeters in length. Appearing like underwater sausage links, the rhizomes are connected to other rhizomes via smaller roots creating groupings of 3 to 5 and can grow to be over one meter in length as a whole. When young, Lotus root has a firm texture with light purple to white skin that transforms into a brown-beige hue with darker brown speckling when mature. Underneath the thin skin, the flesh ranges in color from ivory to white and is crisp, light, and starchy. There are also numerous, symmetrical, air pockets patterned into a pinwheel shape in the flesh that extend the entire length of the rhizome. Lotus root has a dense and crunchy texture with a nutty and sweet flavor, similar to that of a water chestnut or taro root. The younger roots are more tender and used for fresh culinary purposes, whereas mature roots are used in extended cooking applications to develop a tender, potato-like texture.