How to Cut and Cook Cassava Root
(The Freeman) - November 15, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cassava root isn’t as common a culinary ingredient in some countries as it is in others. It is more known in its dried extract form as tapioca. Cassava roots have a nutty, and earthy flavor. The root is gluten-, grain-, and nut-free, making it a potential food substitute for people with allergies.

It’s important to note that cassava should never be eaten raw. The roots, peels, and leaves contain cyanogenic glucosides that are toxic. Sweet cassava is the variety typically used in home cooking, and its cyanide content is removed by peeling and cooking the tuber.

Selecting the Root. Select cassava that’s firm and free from blemishes or soft spots. It should have a clean fresh scent and snowy white center when cut open. The best way to check if the root is still good is to break off its end. If the flesh has black specks, lines, or any discoloration, it should be discarded. Rotten or decaying roots have brown soft spots and a putrid smell.

Peeling the Root. A vegetable peeler is not recommended for peeling cassava because the skin is very thick and usually covered with a protective wax coating. You’ll end up hurting your hands and getting pretty frustrated with the whole process. Instead, use a sharp knife. Cut off the ends of the tuber, slice it into 2- to 3-inch segments, and then stand the root up on its end. Slice vertically down the edges of the root until the skin has been completely peeled off. Stand the root pieces on end.

Cut the peeled root in half lengthwise to expose the woody core. Next, cut the cassava halves lengthwise in half again, so that the root is now quartered into long sticks with the core exposed.

Slicing the Root. Cut the peeled root in half lengthwise to expose the woody core. Next, cut the cassava halves lengthwise in half again, so that the root is now quartered into long sticks with the core exposed.

Removing the Woody Core. Cut off the inner corner of each cassava wedge to remove the woody core and discard it. The cassava is now ready to cook in a recipe or store for future use.

Although you can cook the cassava first, then remove the core, it is recommended to remove the core before cooking. Actually, you don’t have to remove the core at all, but then you will have to eat around it since it’s not tasty.

Storing and Cooking With Cassava. Peeled cassava can be stored in the refrigerator covered with water for up to 4 days, or you can freeze it for several months.

The tuber can be used in the same way that you might prepare potatoes – steamed, baked, mashed, boiled, or roasted. You can also turn them into chips which are similar in preparation and taste to potato chips, as well as cassava fries, which are just as crispy and delicious as french fries. (www.thespruceeats.com) Hector Rodriguez

CASSAVA ROOT
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