A World Without Ag Wednesdays: Tapioca

Today is National Tapioca Pudding Day (who knew!). That I’m aware of, I have never tried tapioca pudding. I’m not a pudding person to begin with, and when you throw texture in pudding–I’ll pass. What I do think of every time I hear tapioca is the movie New in Town. I had to watch it in one of my communication classes to write a paper on it. Although, it was an assignment for class, it was a good movie. Blanche, a character in the movie has a killer Minnesota accent and is obsessed with tapioca, so I always hear her saying it when it it is mentioned.

http://www.tubechop.com/watch/6429506

Anyway, since it is National Tapioca Pudding Day, I was curious as to what tapioca really is. I found some pretty interesting stuff.

Tapioca Roots

Tapioca’s roots literally come from roots–the cassava root to be exact. This root originated in Brazil and is mostly grown in Africa and South America.

Photo Source: Permaculture Research Institute

The cassava root, like a potato, is a tuber. It is also called a yuca root. The root is heavily relied on in communities that are impoverished and is a staple food item for them. Interestingly, the cassava root can also cause harm to those who eat them in many of these countries. If the root is not prepared correctly, it can produce cyanide. Yikes! They are working on creating a version of the plant that does not produce the cyanide. I wouldn’t worry too much about your tapioca, though. It is processed in a specific way to avoid any hazards.The issues typically happen in very rural areas in Africa where processing happens at home. It should never be eaten raw, so when it has not been given enough time, bad things happen. After boiling the root, it is safe to eat.

From Root to Tapioca

To turn the root into tapioca, the root is ground to a pulp. It is then squeezed to get it dry. This makes a sort of flour from which we get the various types of tapioca from.

Tapioca Pudding

Everything I could say about tapioca pudding is written on my face:

tapioca

I don’t know what to do with this stuff. Perhaps I’ll start with tasting it–bucket list status. Happy Tapioca Pudding Day!!


Sources:

Permaculture Research Institute

Specialty Produce

Ohio State University Research

Nutrition and You

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