The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Yucca is not the same has Yuca

 

July 8, 2020

This time of the year, Yucca dots the sides of the hills. I once showed my grandchildren, when they were little, the Yucca plant up close. They said, "Gramma, it's an ant home." Yucca, the plant is a perennial. There are 40-50 varieties of Yucca, depending on where you do your research. They can be like we see them here, a small plant with spiky leaves and beautiful white flowers or they can be shrubs or even trees "in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae. They are native to the hot and dry parts of the Americas and the Caribbean." Some yucca is poison for dogs. The red Texas yucca, also known as the hummingbird yucca, is a beautiful low-maintenance and drought-resistant plant that attracts hummingbirds. "Saponins contained in the yucca plant are toxic to dogs and cause vomiting upon ingestion."

The American Indians used Yucca for several things. They used the fiber for rope, sandals, and cloth. They used the roots for soap, and there are records that the Indians and the early California homesteaders ate the green pod for food.

It's funny when you research; you have to be so careful. One site will tell you that Yuca is an edible plant, but Yucca is a flowering bush. Another site interexchange the too. In one place, it says cassava is a Yuca, and another site will tell you they are not the same. For this article, I will refer to the Yuca root as a tubular-shaped root vegetable that kind of looks like a sweet potato. "In South America, where it is commonly grown, yuca is used as a side dish, sliced up and made into chips or grated and made into pancakes, similar to potato pancakes."

Yuca is one of the world's most versatile vegetables. Use it fried, boiled, or mashed; yuca is a nutty-flavored starchy tuber native to South America that is also found in Asia and Africa.

I bought one at IGA. I didn't know there was a difference between Yuca and Yucca, and I was intrigued because I didn't realize that Yucca's were edible, and I tried to eat it, only to discover it was rotten. Hopefully, the root was covered in wax to keep it good, but when I cut into it and the light white or cream color has turned brown, and according to the recipe, it is not edible. That's when I realized the two were vastly different. They say the starchy flesh of the yuca root has a grainy texture similar to potatoes. "The meaty flesh is often described as having a mild, sweet, somewhat nutty taste."

Compared to potatoes, the yuca root is higher in calories, protein, and carbs. It is supposed to be useful for those with blood sugar issues and athletics alike.

 
 

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