Fun Facts About the Starchy Cassava


DID YOU KNOW?

As a food ingredient, cassava root is somewhat similar to the potato to the extent that it is starchy, inedible when raw, and with a bland flavor when cooked. Indeed cassava can replace the potato in many dishes and forms – boiled, mashed, fried, baked.

Cassava, unlike the potato, is a tropical crop. Its peculiar characteristics led to some unique recipes, such as sweet puddings, which no common potato version.

In some parts of the world, chiefly in Africa, Indonesia, and the Philippines, cassava roots, and leaves, too, are cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

Raw cassava, particularly the bitter varieties, contains high levels of cyanogenic glucosides and may need a combination of boiling, fermenting, long continuous washing and sun drying to avoid the possibility of cyanide poisoning.

Cassava is mainly prepared as a dessert. Traditional methods of preparation include steaming, mashing, grating, boiling, and frying. It is made into cassava cakes, suman, pudding, chips, cassava balls, pancakes, or coated with caramelized sugar.

Cassava suman is one of the regional delicacies in the Philippines. It’s a favorite snack among many Filipinos.

Additional Facts
Known also by other names like kamoteng kahoy (in the Philippines) yuca, manioc, or Brazilian arrowroot, the cassava is one of the most drought-tolerant crops. Its roots are versatile you can eat it whole, grated, or ground into flour to make crackers, bread, and other regional delicacies. They are also known for being the raw material for tapioca, and garri.

Boiled cassava roots are packed with small amounts of Vitamin C, niacin,  iron, fiber, thiamine, carbohydrates (27 grams per hundred-gram boiled cassava), calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin. Overall, however, the nutrition profile of cassava is just average compared with other root vegetables like sweet potatoes and beets.

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Content and Featured Photo (except the Additional Facts) courtesy of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region VII, Central Visayas, Philippines.

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