Lotus – Nelumbo nucifera is a perennial aquatic plant native to Tropical Asia and Australia. It has been long cultivated in China and Japan. The flowers are big and beautiful and has a religious significance to India and Vietnam. It is also their national flower. The roots when harvested are edible and very nutritious. The roots are linked together in segments like a sausage. The Japanese lotus prefer the middle segment because of its size and also for its sweeter taste and a crispy texture.
Lotus roots have sweet, water chestnut like flavor. It is also crunchy and is recommended that you cook it before eating to avoid bacterial infection since they are cultivated in swampy and muddy waters. In Japan it is known as renkon. The Japanese have developed all kinds of recipes using renkon. Most are pickled and some are boiled in dashi together with other root vegetables like carrots and potatoes not to mentioned burdock root or gobo. I see why Japanese like lotus roots. Not only it has such a unique appearance when you cut them crosswise, it is so appealing to the eye when you arrange it on a plate. Japanese puts so much emphasis on the presentation of their food and lotus root managed to do that. Lotus also has a lot of nutritional value. It is rich in dietary fibers which is good for digestion. It also has Vitamin C which helps as an anti oxidant. It is also full of Vitamin B complex especially B-6 or Pyridoxine which helps in over all health and energy. It also has minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc and also potassium and sodium which acts as electrolytes.
The dried flower seed heads are used in flower arrangements.
The flower of lotus opens in the morning and closes at night that it became the symbol of sun, rebirth and creation in ancient Egypt.