- Cassava (Manihot esculenta) also goes by the names yucca, tapioca plant, manihot, mandioca and sweet potato tree
- Cassava is a tropical woody root vegetable native to Brazil and has been a staple food for the Taino and Arawak people for thousands of years.
- It made it's way to the continent of Africa via the Portuguese in the 16th century. in the Amazon Basin of tropical Brazil. It also spread quickly throughout the Asian diaspora.
- Cassava is in the same genus family as the castor bean
- Cassava is such a important crop because it's a complex startch (gives high boost of energy) and is very, very high vitamin C (it also contains a decent amount of minerals like potassium, iron, and magnesium)
- Cassava leaves are a food source of protein and vitamin K
- There are both bitter and sweet varieties of cassava
- Both the root and the leaves are commonly eaten all over the world. In West Africa, the leaves are commonly boil and eaten with fish or goat over rice. The root is also pounced to create a granulated meal. In Nigeria, cassava root is sun-dried and fermented to create a meal that is used as a thickener for soups and stews
- In Latin America and the Caribbean, cassava/yucca is often eaten boiled or fried (y'all if you haven't tried yucca fries, you must) or made into a roasted flour called farinha de mandioca.
- In Asia, cassava is eaten similarly as in Africa and Latin America.
- Tapioca is actually a startch that comes from cassava
- Like many plants, cassava does have some toxicity which is why it is never eaten raw (the root can cause cyanide poisoning if eaten raw in large quantities.