Manioc (Manihot utilissima)
Manioc, also called Cassava, Yuca, Mandioca, and Kamoting Kaoy, is a perennial woody shrubby plant, 1 to 3 meters (3 to 9 feet) tall, with jointed stems and deep green, fingerlike leaves. It has long, fleshy, tapered rootstocks encased in a detachable rind which is rough and brown on the outside. The flesh of the root can be chalk-white or yellowish.
Edible Parts: The rootstocks are full of starch and high in food value. Two kinds of manioc are known: bitter and sweet. Both are edible. The bitter type contains poisonous hydrocyanic acid.
To prepare manioc, first grind the fresh manioc root into a pulp, then cook it for at least 1 hour to remove the bitter poison from the roots. Then flatten the pulp into cakes and bake as bread. Manioc cakes or flour will keep almost indefinitely if protected against insects and dampness. Wrap manioc in banana leaves for protection.
The leaves can be finely cut and boiled.
Manioc is primarily a carbohydrate source and although a poor source of protein, the quality of root protein is very good in terms of amino acids.
Note: For safety, always cook the roots of either type. Improper preparation of Manioc can leave enough cyanide to cause partial paralysis.