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Cassava (also known as manioc or yuca root) root vegetable.

Characteristics edit

Cassava roots are long and thick with a woody, hairy exterior surrounding a white, firm, starchy flesh.[1][2][3] The flavor when cooked is mild.[1] The flesh can be ground and dried to make a flour, and this flour can be further refined to make tapioca starch.

Unfortunately, cassava contains cyanide compounds in its skin and flesh, so it is toxic to consume raw and/or unprocessed. So-called "sweet" varieties have less cyanide and are safe to consume after basic cooking (e.g. boiling, roasting, frying).[2] "Bitter" varieties contain more cyanide and must be significantly processed by various combinations of long soaking, grinding, drying, fermentation, and/or cooking.[2][4][5]

Selection and storage edit

When buying fresh cassava, look for firm, blemish-free, ideally whole tubers.[1] The flesh should be a nice white color, without widespread discoloration or lines in the flesh[5]—small localized areas can just be cut off. Store whole cassava as you would potatoes, in a cool, dark, dry place. After peeling, you can store in the fridge, covered in water for up to a month if you change the water every two or so days.[1] Freezing is also an option.[1]

Preparation edit

Cassava's tough skin must be removed, and this should be done with a knife instead of a peeler.[1] The tubers also have a tough core that runs through the center, and this should be cut out before using.[1] It's very important to process the cassava sufficiently to remove the cyanide. Make sure you know the variety of cassava you're cooking with, so you can determine how much processing is required to safely consume it. Usually, commercially available cassava flour and tapioca starch in nations with robust food safety regulations and industries will not need any further processing before use.

Use edit

Cassava is common in a variety of cuisines, where it can be prepared in a variety of ways. In fact, in many countries, cassava is a dietary staple. It can be cooked on its own such as by roasting or boiling, used as a thickener, or turned into noodles or bread products.[1] In West Africa, cassava is commonly cooked and pounded into a swallow.[2] Indonesian cuisine has some traditional ferments of cassava called peuyeum and tapai.[2]

Substitution edit

Recipes edit

References edit

  1. a b c d e f g h "Learn About Cassava (Yuca) and How to Prepare It". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-02-12.
  2. a b c d e Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  3. Friberg, Bo (2016-09-13). The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-46629-2.
  4. Velisek, Jan (2014-03-17). The Chemistry of Food. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-38384-1.
  5. a b "Cassava (Yuca) 101". The Pioneer Woman. 2016-06-27. Retrieved 2024-02-12.