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YUCASAVA? Why not!

Cassava, yuca, mogo, manioc... however you choose to call it, you’ll get a nutty flavored, sweet, starchy tuber of Brazilian ancestry. It has been a popular edible root with indigenous people in many parts of Africa, Asia and South America for centuries. Today it is grown in more than 80 countries across the globe, and its use in human consumption is rich and wide: from being ground into flour (tapioca) and serving as the base for pudding, to being fermented into alcohol and enjoyed as beer. A glass of Nihamanchi, anyone?
In an article titled "Brazil’s humble manioc gets deluxe rebirth" (The Seattle Times, 12/12/12) Jenny Barchfield writes: "Recent research underscores just how healthy, hearty and versatile the manioc is. The bulbous root, which grows in a bunch beneath a leafy shrub, contains no gluten and is rich in potassium and antioxidants, dense in calories and low in fat. It’s also been shown to help prevent certain kinds of cancers, said Joselito Motta, a scientist with Brazil’s Embrapa agriculture research agency." Indeed, cassava’s nutrition scorecard is considerable. It’s a great source of vitamin C (34% DV in 100 gr of cassava), and a moderate source of some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, thiamin, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. On top, it’s a chief source of some important minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese, and has adequate amounts of potassium (271 mg per 100g or 6% of DV), an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
For balance, cassava is not too ambitious when it comes to protein, and like many other foods, contains natural cyanogenic glycoside compounds. These compounds occur in many foods, and it’s totally normal for humans to ingest small amounts of it each day. Yes, our bodies can handle cyanide! In low doses, of course; it’s when we reach the 50-200 mg level that things can get problematic. Some common foods that contain cyanide are: almonds, millet sprouts, lima beans, soy, spinach, bamboo shoots, apple seeds… Peeling, grating, and cooking all serve to remove cyanide from cassava and make it safe for our enjoyment.
Cassava is the star of many culinary delights around the globe. Try it as Fufu bread when you visit Africa, as a meat-pie dish called Carimañola while you trek in Colombia, or as sagu - after you feast your eyes on modern art of southern Brazil. But if you are freshly out of passport pages or everything in you says "local!," then enjoy cassava in tasty YUCASAVA, a new pie expression made right here on Vashon Island, where cassava is fused with bananas, pecans, coconut milk, and spiced up with cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh ginger, making it the perfect desert (not only) for holidays. Yucasava is available in the cooler section of Vashon Thriftway’s bakery – warm it up, just slightly, and let your taste buds bask in delight! (