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Cassava, Tapioca, Yuca, Arrowroot

Manihot esculenta  

Family: Euphorbiaceae  | Place of Origin: South America

Origins and history:   

Domesticated in the Amazon around 7,000 to 9,000 years ago. Today, Nigeria is its largest produced with Thailand, Brazil, and Indonesia being the largest exporters of cassava.

Identification characteristics

Uses and preparation

Both the roots and leaves of the plant are edible. To prepare the roots, it must be peeled, grated, soaked, fermented, and then cooked in order to be safe to eat to prevent cyanogenic poisoning. Some ways to use this are as flour, baked or boiled, made into crackers, soup, and more! This is a staple food that feeds billions of people, especially in the tropics where it originates. It is the third largest source of carbohydrates.