Cassava bread resembles a big cracker. Made with manioc or yuca, it is very rich in starch. Cassava bread is considered a breakfast, supper, and snack food.
A staple food, cassava was thought to first originate from South-American forests. It has been discovered that it is also consumed in Africa, Asia, and tropical countries or islands.
Cassava is the third most important source of calories in the tropics, after rice and corn. (Add link)
What is cassava?
Cassava is also called yuca flour or manioc. Often compared to potatoes, Cassava is referred to as a whole root. The flour is used for cooking and baking. Other names for cassava are yuca, manioc, mandioca, casabe, and tapioca.
Cassava root has brown, fibrous skin and a snowy white interior flesh, and is about 2 inches wide and 8 inches long. This root must be cooked before consumption and raw cassava is poisonous.
Where to Buy Cassava
Products or foods made with cassava are available in many stores. The flour, crackers or bread, and chips can be found in the several Caribbean and Latin markets and also on Amazon.
The whole root is found in the Caribbean and Latin markets in the vegetable section. You will probably find it near the potatoes. When buying the whole root, make sure it is covered with a somewhat waxy coating. The skin should be firm and the ends as well. If the end is soft and you cannot see part of the flesh, the root is starting to rot. If the root is cut or sliced, check the flesh for any discoloration and odor.
In Haiti, cassava bread is sold plain or mixed with grated coconuts.
In the Caribbean, as far as I can remember, storing cassava root, was not an option as everything is consumed fresh. The unpeeled cassava root should be stored in a cool, dry place like the pantry. The cassava bread should be stored in a plastic container with a lid or in a paper bag.
Cassava chips should be stored in a cool dry place, similar to any other type of chip. The flour should also be stored in a cool dry place, in a plastic or glass container.
If you wish to freeze the root, peel off the skin, slice, and place in a freezer bag for about 2 – 3 weeks. Remember that the taste of frozen cassava will not be the same as fresh.
Cassava Bread has a nutty taste and a somewhat chewy texture. One of the favorite ways to enjoy cassava bread is with peanut butter and jelly. Many islanders also enjoy it with avocado, butter, or spreadable cheese, or any other way they choose. Let’s not forget as a substitute for regular bread for chiquetaille (a spicy mixture of shredded meat with peppers).