Cassava is rich in calories vegetable that contains plenty of carbohydrates and key vitamins and minerals. Cassava is a good source of vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. The leaves, which are also edible if a person cooks them or dries them in the sun, can contain up to 25% protein.
Raw cassava contains cyanide, which is toxic to ingest, so it is vital to prepare it correctly. Also, there are two types of cassava: sweet and bitter. Bitter cassava is hardier but has a much higher cyanide content.
Today, more than 80 countries throughout the tropics grow cassava, and it is a primary component of the diet of more than 1 billion people around the world.
It is popular because it is a hardy crop that is resistant to drought and does not require much fertilizer. That said, it is vulnerable to bacterial and viral diseases.
What is cassava used for?
Cassava is a rich, affordable source of carbohydrates. It can provide more calories per acre of the crop than cereal grain crops, which makes it a very useful crop in developing nations.
People prepare and eat cassava in various ways in different parts of the world, with baking and boiling being the most common methods. In some places, people ferment cassava before using it.
It is essential to peel cassava and never eat it raw. It contains dangerous levels of cyanide unless a person cooks it thoroughly before eating it.
Foods that people can make using cassava include:
- bread, which can contain cassava flour only or both cassava and wheat flour
- French fries
- mashed cassava
- cassava chips
- cassava bread soaked in coconut milk
- cassava cake
- cassava in coconut sauce
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