04-02-2021 di redazione
In the markets and on the edges of many roads of Kenya you can see the sellers of this tuber (already, usually they are women, the real productive and commercial engine of this continent). It is cassava, also called yucca which is now widely spread in the African country, although it was introduced less than five hundred years ago by the Portuguese, who in turn found it during the first explorations in Brazil.
This is its best period, but in any case this tuber has a very high production potential, because its roots produce more calories per unit of soil than any other crop with the sole exception of sugar cane.
More resistant than maize and millet, cassava develops a greater tolerance to extreme environmental conditions and the roots, once ripe, can survive in the soil without receiving water for long periods of time, preserving their nutritional properties.
This is the advantage of cassava, compared to cereals, which makes it an excellent basic resource for food security, particularly in critical periods of drought and famine. This large elongated tuber with bark-like bark could therefore be safely described as one of the main crops for world food security, a great resource for poor people, therefore. It is a pity, however, that it is also one of the main "orphan" crops ( The term orphan is used to indicate the so-called minor crops that receive little or no consideration from the scientific world and funding for research and development projects in agriculture).
The Swahili population of the coast is used to cook it stewed, cooked in tomato sauce or even boiled like potatoes. But also fried, in pieces like "street food" with paprika and lime or in thin slices like chips, which are often bagged and marketed.
Its taste is halfway between potato and chestnuts, with a vaguely woody and almond aftertaste.
Note that raw cassava is slightly toxic, because it contains a cyanide-like substance that disappears completely at high temperatures.
In the north of the country, as well as in Uganda and particularly in West Africa, its flour (called tapioca) is used as an alternative to wheat flour, not only because it has a similar protein content but because it is easily ground at home.
Five reasons to eat cassava
1. Good anti-inflammatory. The fresh chopped root, with a high content of vitamin C has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic properties, while the leaves are used to soothe pain as a mild analgesic.
2. High digestibility. It is a food with a high energetic content rich in starch and carbohydrates but well digestible. Its flour, called tapioca, is recommended in case of gastritis, colitis and digestive difficulties.
3. Suitable for coeliacs. Since it does not contain gluten, it is particularly suitable for coeliacs.
4. Antioxidant action. The good concentration of vitamin C gives it antioxidant properties making it a suitable food to strengthen the immune system and to counteract the activity of free radicals.
5. Excellent for making sweets. Its flour can be used in the preparation of breads and cakes or to make baby food. Compared to wheat flour it contains less cellulose, nitrogenous substances and ashes and this makes it more digestible and lighter. The cakes prepared with tapioca are softer that many confectioners recommend adding tapioca to normal flour in the preparation of cakes.
In addition to food preparations, cassava starch is used for the manufacture of cosmetics, glues, detergents and even paper.
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