Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is a perennial shrub that grows up to 8 feet and has big fleshy roots. Cassava, often referred to as tapioca in English, falls under either 'bitter' or 'sweet' category generally. The high level of cyanide content in the bitter ones ensure that these tubers can only be used after being grated and soaked in water for three days, or being left out in the sun until the cyanide has dispersed from it. Whereas, the sweet variety has low levels of cyanide and can be used just like other edible root vegetables.
Sweet cassavas are commonly grown due to its higher yields. Apparently, texture and color of the root peelings are often the only criteria used to separate clones in the market. Though the main classifications are two, scientific classification of cassavas are over 40, the variations are mainly on harvesting time, disease symptoms causing either roots or leaves or both.
Certain types of cassava get fully matured within nine months, while some can take up to 2 years to fully mature. Casabe is a thin flatbread made from bitter variety of cassava and it is prepared without leavening. Pearl tapioca is another product, and is a common ingredient in Southeast Asian desserts such as Kolak, in tapioca pudding, and in sweet drinks such as bubble tea and taho, where these provide a chewy contrast to the sweetness of the drink.
Cassava is also widely grown for its leaves, which are mainly used for preparing sauces. Leaves from varieties with cynic acid are first processed with a lot of care to remove the toxin before use. Cassava’s ability to produce high yield under poor conditions and its ability to keep the tuber alive for long periods of time end up making it a crop that farmers opt to grow. Cassava can survive even when there is a drought or drought-like conditions.
|Vegetable Gardening :|
More Articles :