TOOLS NEEDED

  • Vegetable Peeler
  • Paring Knife
  • Cutting Board

Yuca, known also as cassava, is the third largest source of carbohydrates for human consumption in the world. The flour made from the roots is tapioca, as in tapioca pudding.

Yuca must be cooked before eating.

Most recipes will give you a weight for how much yuca should be included in a recipe. With yuca coming in many different sizes, that may be hard to figure out in the grocery store.

How much yuca should I buy?

Yuca is narrow, usually 4 to 8 inches in diameter. It can be up to 2 feet long!

Generally speaking, if the yuca root is about 6" in diameter (your thumb and forefinger can wrap around it) each inch in length of that yuca root will deliver 1 oz. of peeled yuca. If a recipe calls for 1 lb. of yuca, you'll need 16" of 1" diameter roots.

Not enough yuca? Most recipes for yuca have enough give and take for you to have a great dish even without the exact amount of yuca called for. The exception being for baked goods, of course. So buy a little more than you need for a baked yuca recipe.

Don't be too concerned about having too much yuca. Any extra can be frozen, just take care to wrap the peeled yuca for the freezer with as much air taken out of the packaging as possible.

Yuca dries out easily (hence the vegetable wax used on its skin to protect it). If dried, replenish by soaking in milk a couple of hours.

Peeling yucaHow to peel yuca

You want to take off both the wood skin and any pink flesh directly underneath it.

Peeling yuca1. The easiest way is to take a steel vegetable peeler and peel the outer skin off like you do a carrot. Some cut the bottom off, stand the yuca on end and use a knife to shave the peel off.

Peeling yuca2. Yuca has woody white strings down the center of the root. Once you have peeled yuca, cut it in half vertically. Taking a paring knife or the steel tip of the vegetable peeler, start of the large end of the root. Encircle a small part of the center, cut down 1" then pull the strings the rest of the way with your hands*.

If the yuca has black strings, it's not fresh and should be returned to the store.

Boiling yuca

Unless you're baking the yuca, you'll need to boil it for most recipes.

In a large pan over high heat, add the yuca chunks and cover with 2" water. Stir in salt. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. The yuca is done when you can easily pierce it with a fork.

*You may not be able to pull all the strings out; most yuca devotees will just eat around it.

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