Grocery Guides

Yucca – All You Need to Know | Instacart Guide to Fresh Produce

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Aug 10, 2021

What is yucca?

Yucca, also known as the cassava root, is a tuber vegetable similar in coloring to a potato but has a shape similar to a carrot but thicker in size. The yucca root’s exterior is brown and looks almost like tree bark in appearance. Inside, yucca is a white or cream color that resembles the inside of a potato. Yucca is mild and slightly sweet in flavor and starchy like a potato.

It is important to note that yucca should always be cooked thoroughly. When raw, yucca contains cyanogenic glycosides, which can turn into cyanide if prepared incorrectly. To prevent this, always peel the yucca root and cook the entire root thoroughly. The yucca root is cooked fully when you can easily pierce the root with a fork.

Like a potato, yucca can be boiled, mashed, pureed, and roasted to be a tasty component of a dish.

Where does yucca originate from?

The yucca root has been used for centuries in South America and Africa for its medicinal qualities. It has been used to help with reducing symptoms of high blood pressure, migraines, reducing inflammation in the digestive system, high cholesterol, and osteoarthritis. In Brazil, the starch of the yucca root is used to make the highly popular tapioca.

What is the nutritional value of yucca?/What are the benefits of eating yucca?

Yucca is a great source of nutrition and has a variety of health benefits. A half-cup of raw and chopped yucca root contains:

  • 165 calories
  • 0.3g of fat
  • 14mg of sodium
  • 39g of carbs
  • 1.9g of fiber
  • 1.8g of sugar
  • 1.4g of protein

A cup of yucca root contains about 42mg of vitamin C. Yucca also contains choline and is high in starch and aids in feeding the good bacteria in your intestines.

How is yucca grown?

Yucca is viewed as a drought-resistant crop, which makes it a popular crop to grow. Yucca grows well in full sun and in regions where there is warm weather for at least eight months of the year, which is why yucca is widely grown in tropical climates.

Yucca is often grown from propagules, which are essentially buds from mature plants that can be grown into a new plant. These buds are typically 2-3 inches in length. Planting a propagule to when the yucca plant is ready to harvest takes approximately 18 months.

It is best to plant your propagule indoors first. When they have begun to sprout at least two inches and the climate outside reaches at least 70 degrees, it is safe to transplant your yucca buds outdoors. During colder months, be sure to move your yucca to a pot and store it indoors to prevent your plants from dying from frostbite.

When is yucca in season?

Yucca does not necessarily have a peak season and is readily available throughout the year. See what other fresh vegetables are currently in season near you.

What should I look for when buying yucca?

When shopping for yucca at the grocery store, you may notice wax on the yucca root. This is normal, as the wax is sometimes used to help preserve the freshness of the yucca plant. When selecting your yucca, choose items that are free from cracks, discoloration, and any visible mold. The yucca root, when fresh, should be firm to the touch.

If you are looking to have your groceries conveniently delivered, you can easily shop for yucca and more via Instacart. After adding a product to your cart, use the “Instructions” option to notify your Instacart shopper about any preferences or specific directions on how to choose the best products.

How to store yucca

Unpeeled yucca can be stored whole in a cool and dark area. When stored in this manner, your yucca should stay fresh for about one week. If you have peeled your yucca, you can store the peeled and cut segments in a bowl of water in the refrigerator. By changing the water in the bowl every two days, you can extend your yucca’s shelf life to around a month. You can also cut and freeze your yucca in the freezer and have it last for a few months.

How to tell if yucca is bad

The flesh of ripe yucca should be a cream color with no visible discoloration. If you notice any dark streaks, black specks, or discolored lines in the flesh of your yucca, this is a sign that your produce has started to deteriorate. Any sign of mold on your yucca is a clear indicator that it is time to replace your yucca with a fresh selection.

What can I substitute for yucca?

You can easily substitute yucca for potatoes or sweet potatoes. Because yucca is similar in texture to potatoes, any potatoes or potato-related produce like—russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, or yams—can be used as a replacement. For something more unique, you can replace yucca with taro, a popular root vegetable used in Asia that is white with purple flecks, or jicama, a starchy root vegetable shaped like an onion. See other root vegetable substitutes.

Start cooking with yucca

Yucca is mild and slightly sweet, and nutty in flavor. The starchy texture is very similar to a potato. There are many recipes you can try, like yucca fries or garlic mashed yucca root. Try adding yucca to your next culinary adventure by picking up some at your local grocery store or having your groceries conveniently delivered via Instacart.

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