Cassava, whose scientific name is Manihot esculenta, is the name by which the plant is known, or more precisely the tuber of the plant. Sometimes it is also known as cassava or cassava, depending on the region. Other times we will see it transcribed as yucca, which is the name of this tuber in English.
Although it is typical of the tropical region of South America, it is currently cultivated in other continents such as Africa and Oceania.
Properties and benefits of cassava
Among the nutritional properties of cassava we can highlight that it contains many minerals, such as calcium and iron, among many others, vitamin K, saponins, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and proteins.
The properties of cassava provide innumerable benefits for health and wellbeing, and therefore it is a food that should not be lacking in our diet, either as a substitute for other tubers such as potatoes or as a new element added to our diet and in favor of a culinary variety.
Among the benefits of cassava, we highlight the following:
Protects the bones
Being a food rich in calcium, it helps to maintain bones. At the same time, the leaves of the plant contain vitamin K, also beneficial for the bones.
Cassava is recommended to reduce the pain, swelling and stiffness suffered by people suffering from arthritis. The saponins present in this food help to improve the joints.
Cassava is a food with low fat levels. Therefore, for those who wonder if "the yucca grows fat" we answer that in itself this food, to contain low levels of fat, does not make you fat. Whenever we take care of the way in which we cook it, since for example in the case of fried yucca it contains 49% fat, unlike the cooked yucca that only has 11%.
Rich in minerals
Cassava contains a large quantity of minerals, each of them in different proportions, of which calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and copper stand out.
It is a food that provides benefits for those who suffer from problems such as gastritis and heartburn, as it is very digestive.
Suitable for coeliacs
As it does not contain gluten, cassava is an ideal food for all those celiac or gluten intolerant people of wheat.
How do you eat cassava?
The versatility of this food places it at the height of the carrot or potato, or even beyond. With cassava you can prepare all kinds of food, and with its starch, the tapioca, you can also prepare delicious desserts.
There are different ways in which this tuber can be cooked. One of them is cooking boiled yucca. To do this, it must be peeled and cut into strips or dice. It should be boiled between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cut.
Once prepared, the cooked cassava can be added to all kinds of meals, either as a side dish or as a main ingredient of the dish. You can sauté or even puree with it.
The fried yucca It is very common in countries like Colombia. We simply cut the cassava into slices or strips and fry it, just like the potatoes. The hot oil is used but at medium heat, to avoid that the fried yucca burns. Once it is browned, it can be removed with a slotted spoon and placed on kitchen paper to absorb the oil.
The cassava baked It is an exquisite dish. Although you can cook directly, it is better to boil first because we will not dry so much, and at the same time we accelerate the cooking time.
For this we peel the yucca and cut it into pieces, although it is not necessary that they are so small, since then we will put it in the oven. As when we cook it boiled, we will let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. We drain it, and place it in a previously oiled baking tray.
With the oven at a temperature of 180 degrees, we will cook it for 20 minutes.
What is tapioca?
A starch or starch is extracted from the yucca, which is known as tapioca. It is widely used in all kinds of recipes, as it happens with the most popular corn starch, both as a thickener or as an ingredient for the creation of desserts, salty and sweet creams, and a large number of foods.
Tapioca contains large amounts of carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins among other properties.
Contraindications of cassava
One of the main contraindications is that, like other plants, this plant contains cyanide, which is poisonous.
However, once cooked this toxic chemical decreases until it disappears. Therefore you should eat always cooked.
Cassava is a low-fat food, but if you want to lose weight and consume this rich food, it is recommended to avoid fried yucca, and always eat it boiled, grilled or baked.