Experimenting with Yucca

by in Healthy Recipes, June 5, 2009

Mashed, baked, sautéed or fried — yucca is as versatile as potatoes. I decided to give this cool tuber a try after it popped up on a few Food Network shows and in my local grocery store. Find out how you can satisfy your starchy cravings with a side of yucca-fied fries.

What Is Yucca?
Yucca (a.k.a. cassava) is a long, cylindrical root with tough brown skin and rock-hard white flesh. It’s harvested in winter months and stores very well in a cool, dark place. Yucca typically comes from southern parts of North America and Central and South America, and it’s common in regional dishes. It’s been around for awhile; some say farmers cultivated it as early as 2500 B.C.!

Nutrition Info
Like potatoes and other tubers, yucca is full of starch and contains vitamin C (about 70% of your daily needs in a cup), B vitamins, thiamin and folate. One cup of raw yucca has 330 calories, 1 gram of fat, 4 grams of fiber and 78 grams of carbohydrates. Despite being rich in nutrients, this veggie actually has a very mild flavor. One big warning: You have to peel and cook this tuber before eating it — it contains toxic substances when raw.

What To Do with Yucca
You can cook with yucca just like you would with potatoes. When peeling and cutting, use a sharp knife and a sturdy surface – these babies are hard! Once boiled, you can then grill, sauté, mash, fry or puree the pieces. Yucca chips, which are made by thinly slicing and frying, have a sweeter flavor than potato chips. But keep in mind that they’re fried — eat only a handful. Try pairing up your yucca with lime, onion, cilantro or oregano for extra flavor without extra fat.

In my yucca “experiment,” I made baked yucca fries. You just slice raw yucca into thin strips, season with oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 425-degree oven until golden and tender. They were delicious, but definitely starchy – a few fries is all you need. Lighten your cooking load by using bags of frozen yucca from your local grocery store. They’re already peeled, chopped and blanched, which makes them the perfect time-saving option when cooking for a crowd.

You might see tapioca flour at the market sometimes. This powdered starch, a common thickening agent used in soups, stews and pie filling, comes from its root.

Oh and I was just browsing the TV listings. Yucca is one of the secret ingredients on Food Network’s Chopped on June 6 (airs at 3pm). I’m curious to see what they do with it.

TELL US: Have you tried yucca? What’s your favorite way to eat it?

More posts from .

Similar Posts

Why We’re Mad About Maitakes

Maitake mushrooms are showing up all over restaurant menus thanks to more than their meaty flavor!...

Comments (42)

  1. Mollie says:

    Do you mean APRIL 6th? Watching it now!

  2. Kaet says:

    Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the agave family, and is likely what you'll find growing along the side of the road or in your back yard. Yuca is also known as cassava and is the source of the roots mentioned here, and is a native of south America. Wikipedia says that the former was confused with the latter upon first European encounter, which lead to the mix up in names that persists today: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yucca http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava

    I can't say for elsewhere, but yuca is commonly available in grocery stores in southern California. It comes coated in wax to help it keep longer and looks like a shiny dark brown tree root. The ends should be a pure white–avoid roots with a yellowish tinge or dark streaks at the ends. Feel along the length of the root; it should feel firm and hard all the way down. Soft spots are no good. If you are going to process the root from a raw state, chop it into manageable pieces, peel, and either boil in water until they're soft, or toss it into a pressure cooker with some salt and pepper and it's done in 10 – 15 minutes. Yuca will usually have tough veins running through the length of the root that should be removed prior to serving. Be sure to cook it all the way; in raw form Yuca has toxins in it that can make you sick. If you want to cut the starchiness of it, soak the raw yuca in water, replacing the water as it clouds up, like you would with potatoes. It makes a good thickener for soup; you'll likely notice that the liquid you cook it in will thicken. I didn't know that tapioca was made from it, but I can't say I'm all surprised. It's a delicious vegetable with a mild flavor. Serve it boiled & drained, or deep fried, with a thick meat sauce, like you would for deep fried zucchini. MM!

  3. artificialplants1 says:

    Nice information. I was looking for this kind of information. Thanks!

  4. Digging up many yucca roots (so I could plant something else in that part of my garden) I decided to boil them in salted water and eat them but I settled on only one root or tuber. After boiling for quite a while the terminal end of the root proved the most tender and thereby, edible. The odor that came from cooking was like nothing I had ever smelled. The taste was not bad and reminded me of a more fibrous rutabaga lacking the sweet taste. I would guess that a food chemist could tell us what chemicals are found in yucca roots. If anyone finds out maybe he/she can post their info here?

  5. GuestFromColorado says:

    I grew up eating yuca with mojo de ajo (olive oil, lime, and garlic) but I have sadly been unsuccessful in my own attempts to cook it and since my mother passed away I no longer have her cooking expertise. I start with the fresh type, not frozen because none of my local grocers carry it frozen. After peeling and chopping I cook it in the pressure cooker with water to cover and about a teaspoon of salt for 30 minutes. It turns brown and has a unpleasant aftertaste. This is the 3rd time I have tried to cook it and failed. What am I doing wrong? :(

  6. Angel Stew says:

    I don't know much about yucca but it is one of the ingredients in a dish my family used to make. Cod fish (bacalao ensalada) with yucca, onions, olives, potatoes and green bananas. I buy it frozen (the Goya brand), I also buy the boneless skinless cod fish, when you prepare the cod fish you boil it and drain it and boil it again and drain because of how salty it is, you boil the green bananas with the peel on which makes it so easy to peel when its done, you boil the yucca and potatoes, cut everything and chop some onions add olive oil and a little bit of adobo mix it all up and it tastes great.

  7. Arlette Brin says:

    Hi there! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the nice information you may have proper right here on this submit. I may be coming again for your weblog for further quickly.

  8. fork says:

    We’re a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with helpful info to paintings on. You have performed an impressive job and our whole group can be thankful to you.

  9. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  10. I keep trying to subscribe to the Letters thing, but there’s nowhere to do so! Once i sign in, under the MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION hyperlink, there’s only my Book Club subscription. How do I add the Letters thing for $5?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>