Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday Roots with Taro

Taro is a root vegetable grown in southeast Asia, Africa, and Oceanic regions. This root can be grown on dry or wet land. It is commonly named for the corms and tubers of several plants in the family Araceae. The Araceae are of a monocotyledonous flowering plants .

It is most used for it’s root but the leaves are also full of nutrition as well. Now back home, meaning Samoa, taro is eaten as a starch. Exactly like potatoes or rice is eaten with meats. It is harvested at it’s mature state but, if it is wet and not properly prepared, then watch out because it will have a itchy sensation in your mouth. Speaking from experience, I was literally trying to scratch it off my tongue. Yes, yes it sounds funny, but after a while it goes away. Shhhhh don't tell anyone but to avoid it from happening again I either wait to see if someone else gets a reaction before I dive in. Or two, only eat taro prepare by a train professional, meaning family.  

In some cultures it is mashed and eaten in a thick paste like form or cooked together in curries. I haven’t tried the curry method yet, but would like to try it. When I was growing up the taro root was usually eaten on very special events, like weddings, graduations, fare well feasts, and etc.

It is very favored by Polynesians, meaning if it was on the table it was the first thing that you would run out of. The traditional preparation of this root is either the umu, an outside oven, or boiled in water. My favorite way to eat this is in warm coconut milk. Yummy! :)

Now the leaves of the taro is typically rapped with coconut milk then baked. The leaves are known to be a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C. These vitamins are good for dry skin, frequent infections, impaired growth, mouth ulcers, night blindness, poor hair condition, allergies, and bleeding gums.  The taro is said to have three times more dietary fibers then a potatoes. It’s probably why the elders would feed infants with it, they knew the benefits and quality of the taro.

The taro is nutritious for it source of calcium, good for building healthy bones. Which maybe the reason for Polynesians having heavy bones. Now I was first told this by a friend in high school, after her visit with the doctor. She said that her weight seemed more than she expected. At first I was very reluctant to believe her, but as time went on and researching it for myself. I can see now the possibility of that taking effect if your eating taro at a young age.

Taro also contains vitamin E, vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and copper. These are all essential nutrients needed for a growing child’s health, not to mention beneficial for adults too.What do they do for the body? Vitamin E and manganese is an antioxidant which helps to protect skin, circulation, brain, and hormones against pollutions, which is great for infections. I wonder, if anyone has tried it in a beauty recipe. I look into it... Love do it yourself beauty regiments.

Just like calcium, magnesium helps the bone but more so the growth and development of bones. Then you have copper which is needed in tiny amounts to transport red blood cells around the body.

Lastly vitamin C with you may know as anti-allergenic, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, antihistamine, antioxidant, and antiviral. Which is great for improving the healing process of wounds needed for essential fatty acids for your metabolism.

As just like anything in life moderation is the most wise route to take. So be sure to cook it well before eating. I hope that helped you or inspired you expand your nutritional palette. Feel free to tell me the best way you’ve had taro. Or it you’ve never had it what method sounds more appealing to you.

Until next time have a great one…  Live, Love, and keep Learning.

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