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What Is Cassava Root?

Cassava is a topical root vegetable cultivated in Latin America and Africa. There are a number of uses for cassava root, which is often treated like other root vegetables such as potatoes in an assortment of dishes. It is also treated to make tapioca, a starch which is used in the cuisine of a number of nations.

The cassava root is long and tapered, with a firm homogeneous flesh encased in a detachable rind, about 1mm thick, rough and brown on the outside. Commercial varieties can be 5 to 10cm in diameter at the top, and 50 to 80cm long. A woody cordon runs along the root's axis. The flesh can be chalk-white or yellowish.

Cassava roots are very rich in starch, and contain significant amounts of calcium (50mg/100g), phosphorus (40mg/100g) and vitamin C (25mg/100g). However, they are poor in protein and other nutrients.

Dried cassava is often available in specialty stores, with fresh cassava root being rare, since it spoils easily.

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