A root native to South America, but now primarily grown in Africa where it is an important staple. Cassava is 6-12 inches long and 2-3 inches wide and is covered with a tough brown skin. The flesh is crisp and white. There are two main categories: bitter and sweet. Bitter cassava is poisonous unless cooked. Cassava is used in the making of tapioca and cassareep--a bittersweet condiment used in West Indian cooking. Grated, dried cassava is called cassava meal. Cassava is also known as soap root from it's historical use as a foaming cleanser.
Season: available year-round
How to select: Choose firm tubers with no blemishes and a clean fresh scent.
How to store: Refrigerate peeled cassava covered with water up to four days. Store whole cassava in a cool dark place up to seven days.
How to prepare: If difficult to peel, microwave a minute or two.