Cassava – One Of The Best African Food
Cassava is a woody, nutty flavored and a starchy tuber that belongs to the spurge family of plant called Euphorbiaceae. It’s an african food cultivated annually in both tropical and subtropical regions because its a crop abundance in starch which was gotten from its tuberous root.
Cassava tuber is the major source of carbohydrate in the tropic and the third most consumed after rice and maize. Its the major source of staple food in the developing world which serves more than half of a billion people their basic diet. Being a tolerance crop makes it capable during the drought season and grows well during wet season too.
The world largest producer of cassava is Nigeria, while the largest exporter of dried cassava is Thailand. In Spanish and United State it is often refers to as Yuca. When cassava is processed, fermented, fried and dried, it form a flaky version called Garri. This is the general name Nigerians calls it. It’s an important African food that is almost taken barely everyday.
Nutritional Profile of Cassava
Cassava tuber or root is an important source of carbohydrate. Its moisture is within the range of 60-65 percent, while carbohydrate is within 20-31 percent, 1-2 percent crude protein and a comparatively small amount of vitamins and minerals. The cassava starch has 70 percent of amylopectin and 20 percent of amylose. The digestibility of a cooked cassava starch is over 75 percent. Cassava root is also a source of little protein.
The traditional method used in West Africa is to peel the roots and put into water for three days to ferment. The roots then are dried or cooked. In Nigeria and several other west African countries, including Ghana, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso, they are usually grated and lightly fried in palm oil to preserve them. The result is called Gari. Fermentation is also used in other places such as Indonesia (Tapai). The fermentation process also reduces the level of anti-nutrients, making the cassava a more nutritious food.
Being one of the most popular African food, cassava is eaten everyday. Can be used to prepare different kind of food like fufu, gari and also for feeding animals. The traditional method used in West Africa is to peel the roots and soak them in water for 3 days for it to ferment. During this process of fermentation and using a machine to squeeze out the water in it, cyanide which is poisonous to the body will have its way out making it safe and more nutritious for consumption. The root then are dried or cooked. For most people in West Africa like Togo, Ghana, Cameroon, Benin, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso, they grate and fried their Gari in palm oil to preserve them. This also happen in some part of Nigeria.
An ongoing project which might be in place anytime sooner is called “BioCassava Plus”. Its a way of developing a cassava that will be low in cyanogen glycosides and fortified with vitamin A, iron and Protein. This will help the people of Africa to have Africa food that is highly nutritious.