Latino Roots: Yuca

October 3, 2016


What is Yuca?

Pronounced YOO-ka, this root vegetable is one of the most utilized carbohydrates in the world - especially in the tropics. Commonly called cassava (and very different than the decorative plant known as yucca), itis a large tapered root similar in size and shape to a sweet potato. It can range from as small as one pound up to several pounds in size and can be found growing up to four feet below the ground. The flesh is light white or cream colored and has a starchy, grainy texture that is similar to potato. The flesh is mild and meaty with sweet and nutty notes. Native to Central and South America, this root is extremely common in Latin American, as well as in Africa and parts of Southeast Asia.


Nutritional Value

Yuca may be a starch like potato, but it is much more nutritious. The flesh is a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, folate, calcium, and fiber. The nutrients in yuca help to boost your immune system and regulate your digestive system. It is gluten-free and easily digestible, making it a usesful starch for anyone with dietary sensitivities. Yuca is an excellent source of calories, with nearly twice as many calories as a potato. While this may be a challenge for some, in many areas of the world is serves as the primary source of energy essential to a healthy diet.


How to Cook Yuca Root by The Roasted Root


How to Choose & Prepare

Most commercially available yuca roots are waxed (there is a visible layer of resinous wax coating the outside) for protection, so they typically arrive to the store in good shape. Look for roots free of large divets or slashes.

To prepare: trim both ends of the yuca. Then, using a sharp knife, carefully slice down the full length of the root. Be sure to cut through both the brown and thick white layer. Once you get inside the root (past the thick white layer) you will be able to pull off the skin easily. The flesh must be cooked before it is safe to consume. More on that from The Roasted Root.


Yuca Fries and Roast Garlic Aioli by Immaculate Bites


How to Use & Store

Yuca must be cooked before it can be consumed (due to trace quantities of cyanide often found in the root). Don't worry, though - boiling the flesh until soft is sufficient to remove the compound and make the root safe to eat.


Yuca is used and prepared similarly to a potato. It should be boiled, and can then be pureed, mashed, fried, or roasted. It is specially popularl in Columbia and Venezuela, where they are cooked and cut into long, thick slices to make "yuca fries."


Yuca stores well and can be kept refrigerated or in a cool, dry pantry for up to a month. 


Posted by:
Rebecca Lubienski

Latino, Latino Roots, root vegetables, ethnic, produce, fall recipes, fall, trends

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