What is yuca?
Yuca is the root of the Cassava plant and it’s pronounced YOO-ka. Yuca is not the same as Yucca. The latter is a southeastern United States desert plant. The two are unrelated, though the spelling is often used interchangeably.
It was one of the first domesticated crops in America and the first evidence of cassava cultivation dates back 4,000 years in Peru.
Yuca is a tuber that is grown mainly in tropical countries of America, Asia, and America and that comes from the family called Euphorbiaceae.
So why Yuca so special and a major staple food in the developing world?
Yuca Health Benefits
From the nutritional perspective, it’s similar to sweet potatos. It’s very rich in complex carbohydrates, with little fat and large amounts of vitamin C and vitamin B6.
Its high energy value makes it a perfect food for athletes or for people that practice strenuous physical activities.
It’s easy to digest food and is recommended for those who suffer from digestive problems, such as gastritis, heartburn, ulcer or colitis.
Other benefits of Yuca include:
- Improves cardiovascular health.
- Great source of energy (100 grams of raw cassava contains 38 grams of carbohydrates and about 160 kcal)
- Protects and repairs body tissue.
- Contains amino acids such as lysine, isoleucine, leucine, valine and abundant arginine, which play an important role in the protection and repair of body tissues.
- Helps reduce blood cholesterol.
- Supports the health of bones and teeth.
- Contains calcium for maintaining healthy bones and teeth
- B-complex vitamins (i.e folates, pyridoxine, thiamine, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid) which are important for producing metabolic hormones and regulating metabolism in the body.
- Prevents constipation
- Supports low blood sugar levels
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Limits neuronal damage in the brain
- Prevent iron deficiency in the body and therefore anemia,
Yuca Nutritional Info
A 100 gram serving of Yuca contains 159 calories. 98% of these calories correspond to carbohydrates and the rest provide a small amount of protein and fat. It is also a food that provides fiber, as well as some vitamins and minerals.
Nutritional information of 100 grams of boiled yuca:
Carbohydrates: 38 g
Protein 1.4 g
Fat: 03 g
Sodium: 14 g
Fiber: 1 g
Thiamine (Vitamin B1): 20%
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 2%
Vitamin B6: 5%
Vitamin C 34%
Yuca also contains small amounts of iron, vitamin C, vitamin K, and niacin (vitamin B3).
What Does Yuca taste like?
It has a starchy texture with a light white or cream color. It has a meaty consistency and is often described as having a mild, sweet, somewhat nutty taste.
How to eat YUCA?
Yuca is generally cut into chunks and then boiled in water, baked, or roasted in similar way potatoes are cooked.
Boiled Yuca is the traditional way to consume it, but it can also be eaten chopped, fried, stewed with other ingredients such as vegetables or meats.
Cassava can be dangerous if eaten raw or prepared incorrectly. However, when cooked it is a totally safe and nutrient-rich food for human consumption. The most important thing is to peel it since the shell of the cassava root contains most of the cyanide-producing compounds.
Yuca can also be used as flour for bread, sweets, or to make other more complex foods.
It’s a very versatile food. For an original recipe, we suggest making tasty yuca arepas stuffed with vegetables and chicken.
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- 2 pounds yuca, peeled and sliced lengthwise
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Place the yuca into a pan and fill with enough water to cover. Stir in salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and place yucca on a serving plate.
- Meanwhile, place the olive oil, onion, garlic, and lemon juice into a pan. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Pour the hot olive oil mixture over the yuca, and serve immediately.
Recipe Source: All Recipes
BUYING AND STORING YUCA
It’s advised to consume this vegetable right after it’s been cooked.
If its consumption is not immediately, it should be kept in the refrigerator until your next meal.
To preserve yuca for longer periods of time, store in the freezer once it’s been peeled and cooked.