Ask Mundovore: Where can I find cassava root in Boise?

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A reader would like to know where to find cassava, or yuca, root in Boise. Others want to know what it is and how to make it. Here’s some information on this tasty, healthy vegetable!

This photo is from a US Aid for East Africa US Government site and depicts a man with a large crop of yuca, or cassava root: http://eastafrica.usaid.gov/en/USAID/Article/1154/ASARECA_Begins_Regional_Cassava_MegaProject

This photo is from research.gov and this is what a cassava root looks like up close.

Yuca, or cassava root, is basically a waxy, starchy vegetable.

The best places to find it locally are Mexican grocers. They run out of stock on it quite quickly. They sell it at WINCO, but the stock is often molding, and has flies landing on it… mushy and with blue mold? Don’t buy that yuca! If you go to Campos Market on Orchard, they have the best stuff.

Now, how do you use it?

First you have to use a peeler to take off the waxy exterior. Next, you need to chop it into smaller, bite sized bits, about 1 inch squares, if possible. The root itself is so lumpy that this is hard to accomplish.

Important: there is a woody center! You must also take that out. It will be a terrible texture to chew if you leave it in. Look at the center of the root. It should be obvious where the woody center is. Remove it!

Boil the 1 inch squares in water for about 30 minutes. Remove from the water and drain.

Toss them with lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and cayenne to taste. This is the way I learned to eat it, and it is Cuban style. If you have heard another variation, please comment below!

Enjoy!

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