Table of content A-Z

 

taro

 

Synonyms: dasheen, eddo; botanical name: Colocasia esculenta


Taro

 

Taro is a swamp plant that stems from India and Southeast Asia and is grown today in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world, having spread via China and Japan around 2000 years ago. It reached the regions bordering the Mediterranean, as far as Spain, from where it was taken by ship to Texas and South Carolina in America. Today, Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Togo, among others, are the most important producers.


Availability


Taro is harvested after 7–11 months, when the older leaves are dying. Then the corms, as well as the leaves and stems are sold. In Germany only the corms are available. They are generally imported from Thailand, China or the Caribbean.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


Taro is a herbaceous perennial with large green leaves that may be up to 60 cm. The plant itself can grow to be 2 m tall. Taro is cultivated for its rhizome, the network of roots that grows underground and is approximately the size of a small to medium-large potato. As a rule, the plant develops a mother corm around which the daughter corms accumulate. The rhizomes are covered with a fibrous skin. The interior is white to grey, or may be reddish to blue-purple. The taste varies from mild to sharp. Two varieties are distinguished:

* Colocasia esculenta var. esculenta

This variety is better-known as dasheen and is grown chiefly in Japan. The mother corm is very large and only a few daughter corms are formed.

* Colocasia esculenta var. antiquorum

Eddo is the name of this variety, which is grown mainly in Africa. The smaller mother corm is surrounded by many even smaller cormels.


Ingredients


The taro rhizome is a food very rich in starch, containing 15–26%.

100 g contain:


Taro, fresh
Taro powder
Energie (kcal)
108
318
Wasser (g)
69
8
Eiweiß (g)
2
5,9
Fett (g)
< 1
< 1
Kohlenhydrate (g)
24
70
Ballaststoffe (g)
3,9
11,3
Vitamin B1 (μg)
120
176
Niacin (NÄ) (mg)
1,5
3,8
Pantothensäure (μg)
500
1030
Vitamin C (mg)
6
7,9
Folsäure (μg)
20
32
Kalium (mg)
433
1270
Calcium (mg)
31
91
Magnesium (mg)
31
91
Phosphor (mg)
61
179
Eisen (mg)
1,1
3,2
Zink (mg)
1,1
3,1
Mangan (μg)
500
1470



Harmful substances


The corms contain calcium oxalate, which can cause a scratchy throat, can irritate the tongue and the mouth, and can provoke digestive problems. It is recommended that taro be cooked in salted water in order to destroy the calcium oxalate.


Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions


Under the proper conditions the taro corms can be stored for several months. They should be scrubbed but not washed and laid in some soil and covered with it.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


The corms are normally used like potatoes; they are cooked in salted water or baked, and they can be fried or deep-fried. In some places they are cut into slices and dried in the sun or eaten fresh with brown sugar and coconut.

Fermented corms are used to produce alcoholic drinks. Flour made from them is used for soups, breads and other baked goods. In addition, taro starch is extracted, also known as arrowroot. Arrowroot is a general term for starches that are obtained chiefly from the tubers of tropical and subtropical plants.

 

 

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