Yuca – Casava
Yuca (Cassaba, Kasava) is the tuber root of a tropical plant brought from South America by the Arawaks. On their journey up the Caribbean islands, they brought the roots with them to cultivate in their new settlements. Tapioca and cassareb are both made from Cassava. The Taino Yuca God was the native’s most powerful deity.
There are two varieties of the plant, bitter and sweet. Bitter Cassava is poisonous until cooked and is used mainly to make a tort called “Casabe”, which looks like a thick tortilla and was the staple of the Taíno Indians (native Americans inhabiting Hispaniola at the time of Columbus’ arrival). This simple meal made the conquest of America possible, providing a steady source of food in the conquest voyages.
Peel yuca with a potato peeler, wash and pat dry with paper towel.
Cut into pieces about 2 X 2 inches. Place in a pot with enough cold water to cover.
Boil until tender. When tender, add salt, 1 teaspoon per every litter of water.
Mash with a potato masher, or place in food processor, adding milk, butter, and pepper to taste. (If you mash in food processor do not mash too long since it makes the yuca mushy.)
Yuca must be eaten as soon as it is ready as it is very starchy. Serve as a side dish instead of potatoes, or with eggs, sausage, or bacon for breakfast or dinner, or use to make your favorite dish.