What is Cassava (Yuca)?

Written in 2024
by Adam

    Cassava is a very long tube-like starchy root that is an indispensable ingredient in lots of the Caribbean and American cuisines. It is taken in mashed, included with stews, and they make chips and bread with it too. Cassava, also referred to as yuca, has to be pressed or cooked prior to consumption, as it is poisonous in its raw form. The flesh is still white when raw, and it turns slightly translucent (yellowish) when cooked, and a little sugary and chewy.

    Cassava features a fibrous skin with a brown, snowy white flesh. Cassava is also known as casabe, mandioca, tapioca, manioc, and yuca. At times people misspell the word yuca as yucca, the latter term refers to an ornamental plant.

    Cassava is indigenous to Brazil. It is widely grown all over the Caribbean and Latin America and has always been an essential root veg in their diet programs. Ever since before Columbus's appearance, cassava remains a staple food of the Carib, Taino, and Arawak population, specifically in the form of cassava bread. Because it was so vital to the culture, the natives revered it.

    Some Quick Facts about Yuca

    • Common Uses Much the same as potatoes.
    • Important guidelines: cassava need to be cooked properly as it is toxic in its raw state.

    Cassava Applications

    Cassava is used for its juice and meat. Prior to cooking it, you need to peel the skin as it features both a significant density of hydrocyanic as well as a fibrous and bitter taste. Be sure to utilize a paring knife as opposed to using a peeler as the skin is bark-like.

    The way to go about it is to cut off each end of the cassava, then slice it into quarters. Be sure to station the root one at a time by making a piece stand up on a cutting board, then use a paring knife to assist in removing the skin cutting from the top of the segment to the base, taking the necessary precaution not to take off an excessive amount of the white flesh. You can say it is like slicing a pineapple. From here you quarter each piece before you clear away the woody core just like you would in a pineapple.


    There are two kinds of cassava, namely the bitter one and the sweet version. Both feature hydrocyanic and prussic acid, which can cause cyanide poisoning; subsequently, one should never consume cassava in its raw state. When you press or cook the root properly, you will get rid of the poison.

    You will never find bitter cassava in U.S. stores. Only the sweeter variety is made available in frozen or fresh form. The bitter part is processed into safe to eat flours and starches, that you'll find in cakes, pastries, and loaves of bread. When visiting French-influenced islands, you'll discover meals referred to as farine, fondly called farine de manioc.

    How Would One Cook Using Cassava?

    Cassava is extremely functional. It can be made into chips, baked, boiled, fried, steamed, grilled, or mashed, or make up part of a stew. Often it's mashed, sprinkled with pepper, salted, or lime juice is added before it is served along with meat. It can be utilized to make dough for tapioca, tamales and empanadas. Cassareep, which happens to be an essential component in Guyanese pepperpot, is a combination of boiled down cassava liquid combined with other spices.

    The collective term bam-bam, used in Jamaica, is quite useful for preparing food made from cassava such as muffins, pancakes, and bread. Bammie or bammy is dense loaves of bread made from cassava flour. It's usually eaten with fried fish or ackee and saltfish. Dominicans are known for making a savoury yuca turnover they call cativias.

    What Exactly Does It Taste Like?

    Cassava root has a slight flavour that's natural, a little sweet, and nutty, with a hint of bitterness. Since it is mild, it presents benefits when cooked along with strong-flavoured ingredients.

    Where Can You Obtain Cassava?

    Depending in which area you reside, you may be able to come across cassava root in the vegetable section of the local grocery. Usually, one will find it in the Caribbean and Latin marketplaces. Cassava is additionally sold frozen plus in flour and meal form.

    Because it bruises easily, it's frequently offered covered in a protective wax finish. When purchasing cassava roots, try to find firm origins with no soft spots. Additionally, if at all possible, purchase whole origins that did not get their stops removed. If cassava is cut, make sure the skin is snowy white with no black discolouring. It should smell clean and fresh.

    Storage Space

    Unpeeled cassava ought to be saved in a cool, dry place like the kitchen. Once the cassava is peeled, it will endure its freshness up to a month within the fridge when covered with water, as long as you change the water every second day.

    Nutrition and Positive Aspects

    Cassava root is richer in protein than white potatoes. Just remember that cassava root has more than twice the number of calories.

    While yuca provides some nutrients and minerals, the quantities are minimal and won't have any beneficial influence. Cassava includes antinutrients that are a substance that inhibit the assimilation of vitamins and minerals.

    Written by Adam

    Adam is the creator of the SmokeGuys website, running it since 2016. Hater of coriander, lover of all things meat... Adam currently works in marketing with a dream of being able to make food his full-time 'job' in the longer term.

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