Taro root

Colocassia, or Taro as it is more widely known, is essentially an underground vegetable. It is a type of corn, and the stem is eaten along with the root.
There are many versions of the Taro. A very common variety is the smaller taro, which is highly popular in the West Indies and Caribbean islands. It is cooked along with a lot of spices and chilies. The skin of this plant is generally brownish in color, and has rough edges and many indentations and attenuations. The inside flesh, however, is very soft and succulent. The interior is generally fleshy and white in color, though it may also be pink sometimes. The outside skin is generally very rough and bumpy, which is similar in many ways to a coconut.

A tropical plant, taro is generally considered to be a root vegetable, though some people also consume the leaves of the plant. Taro has many vital nutrients in it, and also has high content of carbohydrate, thus giving us energy and making us healthier. It is harvested and consumed all over the world, especially Brazil, China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, West Indies, and even the USA, among many other countries.

It is advised, that while washing or removing the outer skin of taro, you should wear rubber gloves in your hand. This is because many people may develop skin irritation due to the materials present on the surface. Also, the surface contains little needle like crystals which may hurt your hand. They are a type of self-protecting mechanism for the plant. Thus, to be on the safer side, you should always use your gloves. Also, some research claims that taro juice is toxic when raw, and you should not get it on your hands.

Buying Tips
If you are buying the roots of sweet potato, make sure that they are solid and free from any kinds of cuts or blemishes. However, if you are going for the readymade canned ones, then make sure that it is the small variety, and they should be properly peeled and washed, and packaged only in its own liquid.

Culinary Usage
Taro can be used to make a large variety of recipes. Choices differ from individual to individual. It can be used to make vegetable preparations, or even cooked with fish or meat. Some common uses are:

  1. Taro can be steam boiled and then roasted, and then sliced, grated, mashed or chopped into pieces and added to other items.
  2. A very widespread item sold in the market is a paste made from taro. The taro is first properly washed, and then boiled and mashed. It is then fermented under proper conditions, and then made into a paste.
  3. Many preparations include having around half potatoes, and half sweet potatoes. These preparations can also be made in the microwave oven.
  4. Taro can also be prepared in many other ways. It can be sliced into thin pieces using a sharp knife. This is had in many Oriental countries. It is deep fried and had with garlic bread.
  5. Due to its high carbohydrate content, it is often used as a storage food while going on long distant journeys. It keeps your tummy full, and also supplies the necessary amount and varieties of nutrients and minerals.
  6. Taro can also be used in curries. It is cut into cubes or rectangular chunks, or chopped into small pieces as the need may be, and added to other vegetables, especially potatoes. A variety of different items can be cooked.

Sweet potatoes should generally be stored in a cool and dry location, and a well ventilated place. It should not be refrigerated.

Medicinal Values
Taro has a rich content of minerals and vitamins. It also has a high percentage of starch and dietary fiber. Some of its medicinal values are:

  1. Reports claim that Taro helps a lot in improving your eyesight, and also supports good vision.
  2. Due to the high content of Vitamin A and Vitamin B, it helps in fighting many chronic and viral diseases. It reduces your chances of getting night blindness, and also immunizes your system.
  3. It has a wonderful effect on skin. It is said to improve the skin around the eyes, and also increases the moisture content in your skin. It reduces the sensitivity of your skin to light.
  4. It protects your cell from any sort of oxygen demand, and also other free radicals.
  5. It reduces peeling of your skin, and also helps in reducing skin wrinkling.
  6. It also helps in reducing any oral cracks or sore spots.
  7. Taro helps to immunize your system, and protects you from fever and colds.
  8. It helps cure and prevent many sorts of lung diseases.
  9. It also helps to cure certain forms of cancer, which include colon cancer.

Where to Buy Taro in USA
In USA, the production of taro was the highest in California. It is also harvested in many regions of Florida and Hawaii, as also in American Samoa.

Nutritional and Dietary information
Taro has a really high content of vitamins and minerals. It is responsible for the innumerable medicinal values of this vegetable. Statistics show, that around 1 cup (that is 145 g) of cooked taro leaves are:

  1. A large quantity of Vitamin A
  2. Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Pyridoxine, Folate (which are rich in Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9 respectively)
  3. It also has a high content of Vitamin C
  4. It also has trace quantities of minerals like calcium, protein, iron, magnesium, sodium, zinc and phosphorous.
  5. It is also rich in essential fatty acids, and some amount of protein. Fatty Acids include both omega 3 and omega 6 Fatty acids.
  6. It is rich in carbohydrates and dietary fiber.

Thus, from all the above assimilated facts, you must be very eager to include this vegetable in your regular diet. What is stopping you? Go get it from your nearest local market.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 1/2 cup raw
Calories 55
Total Carbohydrate 4.5%
Dietary Fiber 7%
Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 2%
Iron 1%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


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