Yuca Vs Taro: Can You Spot Their Differences?

yuca vs taro

Some of you might get confused while choosing yuca vs taro since they have several things in common. If you are wondering how to distinguish them, take a closer look at this article. Then, let’s see if they can replace each other in your daily diets. 

Quick Facts

Yuca:

  • Origin: Asia and parts of Africa
  • Appearance: similar shape to sweet potato, soft brown, hard, rough, and bark-like skin
  • Nutrition: high in resistant starch, dietary calcium fiber, potassium
  • Cooking Recipes: baking, steaming, boiling

Taro:

  • Origin: Southeast Asia and India
  • Appearance: oblong shape, brown, pink or purple, hard, and bark-like skin
  • Nutrition: high in fiber, potassium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A
  • Cooking Recipes: roasting, boiling, simmering, mashing, or frying

4 Key Differences Between Yuca Vs Taro

1. Origin

Yuca is a year-round crop known as cassava or manioc (not to be confused with yucca) and is a member of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It has a starchy tuber with a nutty flavor native to South America and found in Asia and portions of Africa. 

Taro is the underground tuber of the Aracaea plant, native to the tropical areas of South India and South Asia. Its tubers can be harvested about 200 days after planting and when the leaves turn yellow and start to die. 

Both vegetables provide edible leaves and tubers; however, you have to always cook them before consuming because they have poisons eaten raw.

2. Appearance

Yuca is similar in size and shape to a sweet potato and may weigh from one to several pounds. It is roughly 2 inches broad and 8 inches long, with brown, fibrous skin and a pure white or cream color with the grainy texture of inner flesh. Its flowers grow at the top of the stem or the tip of the branch with white/ green/ yellow, or red-yellow color.

Taro is a perennial herbaceous plant that can reach a height of 3 to 6 feet. It has bright green, elongated, heart-shaped leaves that resemble elephant ears. It has spherical tubers about the size of a tennis ball, with brownish skin and hairs on the surface and pinkish purple, beige, or white flesh on the inside, depending on where it is grown.

3. Nutrition

Yuca is a calorie-rich food that can produce more calories per acre than cereal grain crops. This type of vegetable is high in carbs and Vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, etc. The leaves, which may also be cooked or dried in the sun, contain up to 25% protein. Moreover, it contains resistant starch, which experts suggest can improve gut health by encouraging the growth of good bacteria. 

Taro root is an excellent source of nutritional fiber and beneficial carbs, which can enhance the operation of your digestive system. Its high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E aid in good vision, skin, immune system function and may assist in removing free radicals. Besides, taro is also high in Manganese, Potassium, Copper, Phosphorus, and Folate, which helps with metabolism, bone health, and blood coagulation. 

4. Cooking recipes

Yuca is prepared and consumed in various ways worldwide, with baking and boiling being the most prevalent techniques. It is fermented before being used in some locations. And please remember to peel before eating. 

Taro can be used in a variety of ways. To prepare it for many dishes, you may boil, roast, stir-fry, braise, fry, or bake it. Boil taro root leaves and utilizes them like spinach to add more vitamins and antioxidants to your dish. 

Is Yuca Or Taro Better Than Rice?

It depends on each individual’s purpose. For example, while taro has a higher concentration of Vitamins E and C than rice, yuca has more Vitamins C and Folate than rice. If you are trying to gain weight, rice is better for you because it contains more carbohydrates and proteins and is more calorie-rich. In contrast, if you want to lose weight, rice is unsuitable. 

What Are The Side Effects Of Taro?

There is calcium oxalate, a bitter chemical, in this type of vegetable. Eating it raw can induce itching in the mouth and throat, but it’s perfectly safe to eat when cooked. By the way, though taro can help you with your digestion, it is not recommended for those with gastric/stomach problems since it might cause bloating.

Is Taro Good For Weight Loss?

Yes, it is. Taro root is an excellent source of nutritional fiber and beneficial carbs, known as resistant starch, and can help you lose weight and enhance the operation of your digestive system. 

Can You Eat Yuca While Pregnant?

A big no. If you’re pregnant (or even breastfeeding), it’s not a good idea to consume cassava daily. It may result in birth abnormalities and miscarriage.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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