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A course root that is boiled and pounded to make bread and various other farinaceous dishes - and part of the staple diet in many tropical countries. There are bitter and sweet varieties (the latter sometimes known as Aipi) - over 150 species in all - (the former is poisonous until cooked, as it contains a starch related to prussic acid). Bitter cassava is also known as Manioc/Manihot & Yuca., and the root is the source of tapioca, a staple of Brazil, and well-known by all British school children.

It would be expected that the sweet version would be cultivated and the bitter avoided, but the latter is much more commercially important, partly because it has bigger roots (they weigh up to 30 pounds), and therefore yield more starch.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards.

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