News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 6, 2016: Cassava or yucca is another one of those Caribbean super foods.
It is a starchy gluten free root vegetable whose popularity is credited to the Portuguese and Taino Indians for its presence in the Caribbean, South America, Central America and Africa.
Gluten-free starch is used in special food preparations for celiac disease patients, making this root vegetable a real ‘super food.’ Historical information also shows that Taino groups in islands such as Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Jamaica, relied heavily on root crops, such as yucca.
There are two types of cassava/yucca – a bitter variety and sweet variety.
Cassava/yucca’s nutritional value is as follows:
- It has nearly twice the calories of potatoes. In fact cassava is considered to have one of the highest value calorie foods for any tropical starch rich tubers and roots.
- The calorie value comes mainly from sucrose which accounts for more than 69 percent of total sugars. Amylose (16-17 percent) is another major complex carbohydrate sources.
- It is, however, very low in fats and protein Nonetheless, it has more protein than that of other tropical food sources like yam, potato, plantains, etc. Young tender cassava (yucca) leaves are a good source of dietary proteins and Vitamin K. Vitamin-K has a potential role in bone mass building by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
- It is a moderate source of some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as foliates, thiamin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and pantothenic acid, also called pantothenate or vitamin B₅.
- It also contains some important minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese and has adequate amounts of potassium (271 mg per 100g or 6 percent of RDA). Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
Because of its toxic juices, cassava /yucca, should never be eaten raw. The sweet variety of Cassava/yucca is eaten after peeled and cooked. It is then served as a starchy vegetable served plain with salted fish, steam fresh fish or stewed meats or as a salad or as fried cassava chips or grated (uncooked) and made into a bread which is cooked on a hot grill.
Cassava/yucca is also used to make a dessert called cassava pone. This is a popular dessert in the Caribbean and to prepare cassava bread after grating the tuber the toxic juice which contains cyanide is squeezed out. The grated root is then ground into flour for baking bread.
In Jamaica, bread made from Cassava is called Bammy and is served with Escovietched fish or Ackee and Saltfish or calaloo and Saltfish. Cassava flour is also used to make bread, cake, cookies, in several Caribbean islands.
When buying cassava/yucca, make sure your selections are well-formed, hard, and heavy. Avoid cassavas that have cuts, breaks in the skin, mold, or soft spots,
Today I will share with you my favorite cassava/ yucca recipe
Below is a recipe for Yucca/Cassava pudding.
2 cups grated sweet cassava
1/2-cup brown sugar
3 cups coconut milk
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbs soft butter
1 tsp salt
Combine sugar, vanilla, coconut milk and cassava.
Separately, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.
Add to cassava mixture.
Mix until smooth.
Pour into a greased and lightly floured 6×6 pan.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 300 degrees for two hours.
Best served warm or cold.