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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Yucca

Yucca:

About:

Yucca root, also know as cassava, is a tubular shaped root vegetable that bears a resemblance to a sweet potato.  In South America, where it is commonly grown, yucca is used as a side dish sliced up and made into chips, or grated and made into pancakes.  

History:

Yuca ,or cassava is a historically important food source utilized for its carbohydrate rich (30% starch) nutrients while its similarly named counterpart, yucca  is at least in modern times an ornamental plant 
The tuberous roots of plants in the yucca family - more than 40 species strong  - have  long provided a carbohydrate rich food source for indigenous people in the arid areas of the Americas.  Native to regions of Mexico and the arid southwestern Untied States, the root is commonly used to create a healthy soap and deodorant for cancer patients due to its lack of harsh chemicals. 

My Story:

My first exposure to Yucca was in the supermarket.  All of a sudden we began to see in our order books a place to order 3 unknown to us vegetables.  They were yucca, malanga, and name.  Of course we didn't know what they were or how to even pronounce their names.  We didn't order them until we were delivered them anyway.  They were slow to catch on with customers until we began to have more Hispanic customers in our area.  Then we learned what they were and how to pronounce their names. 

Nutrition:

The starchy root of the yucca is not only rich is carbohydrates, but also contains a health mix of vitamins, minerals, and plant-based nutrients,  The root is packed with vitamin C, B, and A as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.  

Health Benefits:

       Researchers are finding that yucca root's phytonutrients including steroidal saponins and reservatrol endow it with significant health benefits.  Yucca is used for osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, inflammation of the intestines (colitis), high cholesterol, stomach disorders, diabetes, poor circulation, and liver and gall bladder disorders.   In the September, 2008 issue of Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications researchers reported that rats fed a supplement of yucca, quillaja or a blend of the two had significantly lower blood glucose and total cholesterol levels and higher insulin and good cholesterol readings.   Yucca's active components seem to exert anti-inflammatory components.  Phytochemicals extracted from yucca root exhibit anti-oxidant properties that may help to prevent cardiovascular disease in which hyperactivity of blood platelets is a factor.  Some people apply yucca directly to the skin for sores, skin disease, bleeeding, sprains, joint pain, baldness and dandruff.  

Selecting and Storing:

Select yucca roots that are blemish free and firm.  Store in a cool, dark, dry place for up to a week.  Peeled yucca root can be stored in water in the refrigerator, or wrapped tightly and frozen for several months. 

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.

 Simple but Good:


Cuban- Style Yucca
2 pounds yucca, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil 
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 stsp fresh lemon juice

Place yucca in a panwith enough water to cover.  Stir in salt.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain and place yucca on a serving plate.

Meanwhile place olive oil, onion, garlic, and lemon juice in a pan.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Pour hot olive oil mixture over yucca and serve immediately.





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