Learn more about Cassava
- This plant is also known as 'yuca'. For the Cuban music, see Yuka.
| Manihot esculenta|
The cassava or manioc (Manihot esculenta) is a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family) that is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrate.
Cassava is called mandioca, aipim, or macaxeira in Portuguese, mandio in Guaraní, maniok in Afrikaans, yuca or mandioca in Spanish, mogho in Gujarati, kappa in Malayalam, singkong or ubi kayu in Indonesian, tugi in Ilocano, balinghoy in Tagalog, maniok in German, Danish and Czech, manyok in Haitian Creole and manioc in French.
The root is long and tapered, with a firm homogeneous flesh encased in a detachable rind, about 1 mm thick, rough and brown on the outside. Commercial varieties can be 5 to 10 cm in diameter at the top, and 50 to 80 cm long. A woody cordon runs along the root's axis. The flesh can be chalk-white or yellowish; it breaks like a carrot's, and darkens quickly upon exposure to the air. For this reason, the skinned root must be kept under water until it is ready to be cooked. The root's flavor spoils in a day or so, even if kept unskinned and under refrigeration, which is a problem for supermarkets. A solution is usually to freeze it or seal it in wax.
The cassava plant gives the highest yield of food energy per cultivated area per day among crop plants, except possibly for sugarcane. Cassava roots are very rich in starch, and contain significant amounts of calcium (50 mg/100g), phosphorous (40 mg/100g) and vitamin C (25 mg/100g). However, they are poor in protein and other nutrients. In contrast, cassava leaves are a good source of protein if, and only if, supplemented with the amino acid methionine.
 History and economic impact
The species Manihot esculenta originated in South America. It was domesticated before recorded history in Brazil and Paraguay, and forms of the modern domesticated species can be found growing spontaneously in the south of Brazil. While there are several wild Manihot species, all varieties of M. esculenta are cultigens.
World production of cassava root was estimated to be 184 million tonnes in 2002, the majority of production is in Africa where 99.1 million tonnes were grown, 51.5 million tonnes were grown in Asia and 33.2 million tonnes in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The root cannot be consumed raw, since it contains free and bound cyanogenic glucosides which are converted to cyanide in the presence of linamarase, a naturally occurring enzyme in cassava. Cassava varieties are often categorized as either "sweet" or "bitter", signifying the absence or presence of toxic levels of cyanogenic glucosides. The so-called "sweet" (actually "not bitter") cultivars can produce as little as 20 milligrams of cyanide (HCN) per kilogram of fresh roots, while "bitter" ones may produce more than 50 times as much (1 g/kg). Cassavas grown during drought are especially high in these toxins. <ref> Template:Cite journal</ref> <ref> Template:Cite journal</ref>
For some smaller-rooted "sweet" varieties, cooking is sufficient to eliminate all toxicity. The larger-rooted "bitter" varieties used for production of flour or starch must be processed to remove the cyanogenic glucosides. The large roots are peeled and then ground into flour, which is then soaked in water, squeezed dry several times, and toasted. The starch grains that float to the surface during the soaking process are also used in cooking.<ref> Template:Cite journal</ref>
Cooked in various ways, cassava is used in a great variety of dishes. The soft-boiled root has a delicate flavor and can replace boiled potatoes in many uses: as an accompaniment for meat dishes made into purées, dumplings and gnocchi, soups, stews, gravies, etc.. Deep fried (after boiling or steaming), it can replace fried potatoes, with a distinctive flavor. Cassava flour can also replace wheat flour, and is so-used by some people with allergies to other grain crops. Tapioca and foufou are made from the starchy cassava root flour. Boba tapioca pearls are made from this root.
 Pre-Columbian America
Cassava was, and still is, a major staple food for many native tribes in the tropical parts of the continent, since pre-Columbian times. It was peeled, grated into flour and made into pancakes (modernly called cassava bread, or casabe in Spanish). Bitter varieties were detoxified by peeling and grating the root, straining the flour, then washing or boiling for 4-8 hours.
The boiled cassava could be diluted to produce a drink called caxiri. Caxiri was often left to ferment for several days and even months. Alternatively, chewing and fermentation of cassava gruel produced cauim, a mild alcoholic beverage, which was consumed in vast quantities at parties and ceremonies. Another mild alcoholic beverage, pajuaru, was made by soaking stacked cassava pancakes in water for three days. This produced a starchy, brown, moldy lump that was then diluted. These practices are still current in many Indian tribes.
 Ethnomedical Uses
- The bitter variety of Manihotroot is used to treat diarrhea and malaria.
- The leaves are used to treat hypertension, headache, and pain.
Cassava is heavily featured in the cuisine of Brazil. The dish vaca atolada ("mud-stranded cow") is a meat and cassava stew, cooked until the root has turned into a paste; and pirão is a thick gravy-like gruel prepared by cooking fish bits (such as heads and bones) with cassava flour, or farinha. In the guise of farofa (lightly roasted flour), cassava combines with rice and beans to make the basic meal of average Brazilians. Farofa is also a standard side dish for feijoada, the famous meat-and-beans stew. Boiled cassava is also made into a popular sweet pudding. Deep-fried (after boiling), it is often eaten as a snack or side dishes.
Cassava is very popular in Bolivia with the name of yuca and consumed in a variety of dishes. It is common, after boiling it, to fry it with oil and eat it with a special hot sauce known as llajwa or along with cheese and choclo (dried corn). In warm and rural areas, yuca is used as a substitute of bread in everyday meals. The capacity of cassava to be stored for a long time makes it suitable as an ideal and cheap reserve of nutrients. Recently, more restaurants, hotels and common people are including cassava into their original recipes and everyday meals as a subtitute of potato and bread.
In Colombia, cassava is widely known as yuca among its people. In the colombian interior, it is used mainly in the preparation of Sancocho (a kind of rich soup) and other soups. In the Valle department is famous the Pandebono bread made of the yuca dough.
In the coastal region, is known especially in the form of "Bollo de yuca" (a kind of bread) or "enyucados". "Bollo de yuca" is a dough made of ground yuca that is wrapped in aluminum foil and then boiled, and is served with butter and cheese. "Enyucado" is a dessert made of ground boiled yuca, anise, sugar, and sometimes guava jam. In the caribbean region of Colombia it is also eaten roasted, fried or boiled with soft homemade cheese or cream cheese and mainly as guarnition of fish dishes.
 Dominican Republic
Cassava bread (casabe) is an often used complement in meals, much in the same way as wheat bread is used in Spanish, French and Italian lunches. Also, as an alternative to side-dishes like french fries, arepitas de yuca are consumed, which are deep-fried buttered lumps of shredded cassava. Bollitos, similar to the Colombian ones are also made. The root, in its boiled and peeled form, is also present in the typical Dominican stew, the Sancocho, together with plantains, potatoes, yautía, among other vegetables (it can also be eaten singly as an alternative to boiled potatoes or plantains). Also, a type of empanada called catibía has its dough made out of cassava flour.
Cassava is also popular in Peru, where it is used both boiled and fried. Boiled cassava is usually served as a side dish, while fried cassava is usually served together with onions and peppers as an apperitif or accompanying chicha.
In the humid and sub-humid areas of tropical Africa, cassava is either a primary staple food or a secondary co-staple. In West Africa, particularly in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, cassava is commonly prepared as Eba or Garri. The cassava is grated, pressed, fermented and fried then mixed with boiling water to form a thick paste. In West Africa the cassava root is pounded, mixed with boiling water to form a thick paste and cooked as Fufu. People economically forced to depend on cassava risk chronic poisoning diseases, such as tropical ataxic neuropathy (TAN), or such malnutrition diseases as kwashiorkor and endemic goitre.
In Central Africa, cassava is traditionally processed by boiling and mashing. The resulting mush can be mixed with spices then cooked further or stored. A popular snack is made by marinating cassava in salted water for a few days then grilling it in small portions. Many cassava dishes exist in various African countries.
For example, residents in the Sub-Saharan nation of the Central African Republic, have developed multiple, unique ways of utilizing the abundant cassava plant. In addition to the methods described above, local residents fry thin slices of the cassava root resulting in a crunchy snack similar in look and taste to potato chips. The root can be pounded into flour and made into bread or cookies. This flour can also be mixed with precise amounts of salt and water to create a heavy liquid used as white paint in construction. The cassava plant's leaves are also soaked and boiled for extended periods of time to remove toxins and then eaten. The taste is similar to spinich. In the local language Sango, this is called gozo. U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers stationed in the Central African Republic refer to the cassava plant as the multi-purpose staple.
In the state of Kerala, India, cassava is a secondary staple food. Boiled casava is normally eaten with fish curry (kappayum meenum in Malayalam) or meat, and is a traditional favorite of many Keralians. Kappa biriyani — cassava mixed with meat is a popular dish in central Kerala. In Tamil Nadu, the State Highway between Thalaivasal and Attur has many cassava processing factories (local name Sago Factory) alongside it - indicating an abundance of it in the neighborhood. Cassava is widely cultivated and eaten as staple food in Andhra Pradesh. The household name for processed cassava is sabu dana or saggu biyyam.
Cassava is widely eaten in Indonesia, and used as a staple food during hard times but has lower status than rice. It is boiled or fried (after steaming), baked under hot coals, or added to kolak dessert. It is also fermented to make peuyeum and tape, a sweet paste which can be mixed with sugar and made into a drink, the alcoholic (and green) es tape. It is available as an alternative to potato crisps. Gaplek, a dried form of cassava, is an important source of calories in the off-season in the limestone hills of southern Java.
 Animal feed
 Cassava hay
Cassava hay, is hay which is produced at a young growth stage, 3-4 months and being harvested about 30-45 cm above ground, sun-dried for 1-2 days until having final dry matter of at least 85%. The cassava hay contains high protein content, 20-27% CP and condensed tannins, 1.5-4%. It is used as a good roughage source for dairy, beef, buffalo, goats, sheep by either directing feeding or as a protein source in the concentrate mixtures. More details can be search from AJAS,Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences
 Cassava pests
In Africa the cassava mealybug (Phenacocus manihoti) and cassava green mite (Monoychellus tanajoa) can cause up to 80% crop loss, which is extremely detrimental to the production of subsistence farmers. These pests were rampant in the 1970s and 1980s but were brought under control following the establishment of the Biological Control Centre for Africa. The Centre investigated biological control for cassava pests and two South American insects Epidinicarsis lopezi and Typhlodromalus aripo were found to effectively control the cassava mealybug and the cassava green mite respectively.
 See also
- FAO, June 2003 cassava market assessment, 2003
Cassava (called Manioc) is also used for food, and to make farine all over the West Indies, and Anglo Caribbean.
 External links
- Cassava - Purdue University Horticulture
- Cassave Research at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
- Cassava Pests: From Crisis to Control
- GM cassava plants that have reduced cyanogens
- Global Cassava Development Strategy
- The Case for Cassava
- Asian Cassava (Tapioca) Dessert Recipesar:كاسافا
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