Yucca (or cassava)

Yucca (or cassava)

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It was cultivated and consumed in America long before corn, being the sustenance on the table of more than 600 million people, that is, 10% of the planet. And of course he has earned that position on his own merits. It grows in poor soils, where other crops do not thrive, just as well as in hot, humid soils like the jungle. It is cheap to produce since it needs few nutrients, fertilizers, pesticides and even water, and in return it gives a high yield. Its edible tubers also provide a large amount of carbohydrates, the basis of the diet. For all this, cassava has triumphed where other more attractive, complete and easy-to-prepare foods have not been able to.

Healthy energy

Most of the composition of cassava or Manihot esculenta, about 60%, is water, which increases by 5% when cooked. Of the rest, 38% are complex carbohydrates, mostly starches. These are its true treasure, as they represent a good nutritional contribution that has enriched rather scarce diets.

It is also usually presented as a good source of vitamin C, but given that cassava can only be consumed cooked in one way or another, and that it is a very perishable vitamin, it seems difficult for its contribution to be significant.

Thiamine or vitamin B1, although it is lost up to a third during cooking, is also present in considerable quantity (0.08 mg / 100 g), which helps metabolize the abundant carbohydrates.

In what stands out with authority is its potassium contribution, which without reaching that of potatoes or bananas, is about 271 mg per 100 g (9% of the recommended daily amounts), as well as a low sodium content (14 mg). It also provides significant amounts of calcium (16 mg), iron (0.28 mg), magnesium (21 mg), phosphorus (28 mg), and other trace elements such as zinc, selenium or copper.

The fact that it does not contain gluten also makes it an interesting source of carbohydrates for celiacs.

As for the studies on the medicinal effects of cassava, the only thing that can be said for now is that they are very scarce. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute in Taguig, in the Philippines, is working on a study on the ability of dietary fiber in cassava to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, apparently with good results.

In the field of traditional medicine, the natives have used the juice of roots and stems as a natural laxative, as a cleanser, as a liniment to relieve joint pain, and to disinfect wounds, and even maceration water to combat the dandruff or hair loss.

Cassava on the table

Due to its nutritional content, it is better to combine cassava with other foods that do not essentially contain carbohydrates. In other words, it is not usually combined with cereals in general and their derivatives such as pasta. It is more interesting to associate it with protein and moderately fatty products, or with legumes in small proportions.

Due to its neutral taste, it is an ideal base to accompany almost any flavor that has a minimum of personality: cheeses, fish, vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, fresh herbs, condiments, spices, reductions, funds and almost any type of sauce.

Cassava cannot be eaten raw, as it would be toxic. But to cook it you first have to figure out how to peel off its tough skin.

The easiest thing is to cut and discard the very fibrous ends. Then it is cut into thick slices, 3 or 4 centimeters. They are laid flat one by one on a board and the skin is cut with a large, well-sharpened knife, pressing from top to bottom.

Once peeled, it can be left to soak for a few minutes to expel part of the juice.

Video: Tapioca, Cassava, or yuca. (June 2022).


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