Cassava - an exotic vegetable crop
According to the legend of the Indians of America, one of the tribes of the Aboriginal gods gave a tiny sprout of an unknown plant. He struggled his way to the sun through the thickets of tall grasses. The little stubborn man won his place in the sun and blossomed, bathed in its hot rays, turning into a flowering bush. It grew so fast that the earth was covered with cracks, through which the eyes of an ancient tribe opened tender white oblong tubers. In honor of the daughter of the leader of his tribe, a beautiful white-skinned Mani, the natives called the miracle plant Cassava donated by the gods. The cassava tuber was edible and very tasty. An amazing bush quickly spread among the tribes, and each gave it its own name. Therefore, cassava (cassava) has many names - cassava, singkong, mann sampalang, yubi kayu and others. And today an amazing bush with rich tasty tubers (like manna from heaven), which does not require special care, feeds more than 500 million people on earth. Cassava is gradually becoming the food of the future!
- Classification and area of distribution
- Description of Cassava
- What is interesting cassava?
- Cassava food
- Cassava cultivation technology
Classification and area of distribution
The homeland of cassava is the tropical regions of America, but this crop is grown most of all in the tropical conditions of Africa. For the content of milky juice in the organs of the plant, cassava is assigned to the family of euphorbiae, where it is allocated to a separate genus "Cassava" containing more than 100 species.
High adaptability to climatic conditions contributed to the distribution of the family in hot deserts, rainforests, in the south and in the middle zone of Russia and the CIS. For full ripening root tubers need an average annual temperature of at least + 20 ... + 25 ° C. Therefore, in open ground, it is freely cultivated only in the tropics. In the southern regions of the Russian Federation, the culture can be cultivated in protected ground and grown as a houseplant. The most famous and common is the tropical exotic Manioc edible (Manihot esculenta).
Description of Cassava
The cassava family is represented in the area of natural growth by perennial herbs, shrubs, and much less often by tree representatives.
Cassava is a perennial evergreen fast-growing shrub with a beautiful decorative foliage crown, often exceeding 3 m in height. The central stem lignifies over time. Branching is weak, but nodes that carry large dark green long-leaved leaves are clearly visible throughout the stem. The leaf blade is deep-palmate-separated 3-7 lobar. The next arrangement of leaves contributes to the loose lace decorative formation of the crown.
Flowers unisexual yellowish-white in color, collected in apical brushes on long peduncles. On each brush in the upper part are male flowers, and in the lower - female. In the life of cassava, and especially in reproduction, the flowers do not have much significance, but their ripening determines the readiness of the tubers for harvesting.
The most interesting is the underground part of the types of cassava. The cassava is edible, or Cassava (Manihot esculenta) attractive as a food crop. The root system is represented by a long thickened root up to 1 m long and 8-10 cm in diameter. As a result of secondary thickening of the roots, 3-8 tuberoid-swollen roots (tubers) are formed at the base of the stem, reaching 0.5-1.0 m in length, up to 20 cm and weighing from 5 to 25 kg.
The tuber core is rich in starch (20-40% by weight). It is cassava tubers that serve as a food product, but only after processing: drying, boiling or washing in water. Raw tubers are toxic due to the prussic acid content.
What is interesting cassava?
The market today is represented by a large list of vegetable products. Interesting “sticks” are sold on the market and in stores with the strange-sounding name of cassava, which can be eaten. More and more summer residents begin to grow not tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, but are interested in unusual foods. Such unusual for us vegetables also include cassava.
It can become not only a domestic vegetable crop, an exotic indoor plant, but also the basis of a business when cultivated in protected ground. Once having tasted cassava dishes, the buyer will forever fall in love with tropical exotic cuisine. Before deciding in what form and whether cassava will grow in your home, we will familiarize ourselves with its composition, medicinal properties and use in cooking and home cooking.
Edible cassava root similar to a huge potato, but contains a large amount of linamarine or hydrocyanic acid glucoside. This is a fairly toxic substance and therefore can not be consumed in its raw form. Edible cassava is one of the useful substances that contains the main minerals that ensure the full health and intrauterine development of the child - potassium, magnesium, iron, selenium, zinc and calcium.
Cassava is rich in B vitamins, as well as A, C, D, E, K and other beneficial ingredients. The culture is extremely rich in carbohydrates (it contains up to 40% starch).
The healing properties of cassava
After heat treatment, the cassava root crop is safe to eat and is used by the population of cultivation regions:
- as a means of increasing the body’s immunity and energy,
- as an anti-inflammatory drug for the treatment of gout, bursitis, arthritis,
- to normalize blood glucose,
- as an antioxidant substance that relieves the body of free radicals,
- as a folk medicine that inhibits the aging process of the human body.
Ground cassava seeds - good emetic and laxative.
More than 500 million people in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Indonesia use cassava as a staple food. An important food plant of the tropics is used as a food product in other regions of the world, where it is delivered as a semi-finished product.
Raw tubers are peeled from the top peel to the core, which is crushed and boiled or soaked for several hours in cold water. The semi-finished product is laid on a litter with a thin layer and dried for 5-6 hours until completely dry. With this preparation, cyanide is almost completely evaporated, and with subsequent preparation of dishes it becomes absolutely safe to eat.
Use of convenience food
The resulting dry mass of the semi-finished product is ground to a state of flour or cereal (like sago), characterized by a high content of starch.
- The resulting product is an environmentally friendly raw material for the manufacture of bread, pies, various cereals and other dishes and culinary products.
- In allergy sufferers to cereals, cassava flour can replace wheat flour for various pastries.
- After heat treatment, cassava is used as a dietary side dish for fish and meat, soups and broths are prepared.
- They make chips, jellies, sweets and other exotic culinary delights: the famous Thai balls, "black pearls", cocktails, teas, compotes, etc.
Cassava cultivation technology
Cassava is a culture of the tropical belt and requires certain conditions for its development - air temperature of at least + 25 ... + 30 ° C, the absence of a long dry period, and an abundance of sunny days. These conditions correspond to the climate of the southern regions of the Russian Federation or it can be created in enclosed spaces: greenhouses, greenhouses, conservatories, and even in apartments for family consumption.
Cassava soil requirements
To grow cassava, a light, breathable, neutral reaction soil (preferably sandy loam) with a high humus content is required. Soils should be loose, plants do not tolerate heavy dense soils. Good drainage is necessary, since the culture does not tolerate stagnation of water, although it needs watering.
Preparing planting material
Cassava is propagated only vegetatively and use planting material in the form of cuttings harvested from the middle part of well-developed stems that have reached 6-12 months of age. 15-20 cm of the cuttings are stored for 2-3 months in a cool place or immediately planted in the soil. The position of the handle during planting does not play a role (vertical, inclined, horizontal).
The main requirement: at least half of the cuttings must be in the soil. With horizontal planting, the lying cuttings are covered with 8-10 cm of soil. Otherwise, the planting material dries up. With sufficient moisture, the stalk quickly forms subordinate root tubers and shoots.
It is not difficult to grow cassava, but you need to choose a variety (preferably early ripening) and a planting period. From autumn, humus of 20-30 kg / 10 sq. m. Before planting, the soil is dug up to a depth of 15-20 cm and nitroammophoska is introduced at the rate of 50-70 g / sq. Deep tillage is impractical. Long root tubers are formed, which makes it difficult to harvest.
In open and protected ground, cassava is best planted on ridges 40 wide and 40-60 cm high in 1 row, which creates the necessary loose soil and makes it easier to care for plants.
When planting in a wide-row way, the cuttings are placed in 2 rows in furrows or ridges. The planting density depends on the variety and tillering and on average is between cuttings in the row 60-90 cm, and between rows 80-120 cm.
If the soil is highly fertile, then fertilizers for the crop do not need to be applied, especially with the annual harvesting of tubers. During the growing season, you can feed the culture with nitrogen-potassium fertilizers for regular weeding 2 and 4 months after planting. If the cassava crop is removed gradually over a period of 2-3 years, top dressing begins in the second year of cultivating the crop.
During the growing season, 1-2 hills of plants are carried out on the cassava plantations, tracking the level of soil coverage of the trunk circle where the tubers are located. Weeding is recommended after each watering. The soil until the rows are closed is kept clean from weeds. systematic weeding.
The duration of the growing season is 6-8 for early ripening varieties, and 12-16 months for late-ripening varieties. When the cold season begins, the development of cassava freezes and resumes with the onset of the necessary air temperature and soil moisture. Root tubers do not die.
Readiness for harvesting cassava is determined by yellowing and falling of leaves, as well as by ripening of seeds. The waiting period for excavation is 3-4 weeks. If you collect too young unripe tubers, the resulting semi-finished product will be tough and poorly digested.
First cut down the stems of the plants, leaving 30-40 cm of hemp. Of these, cuttings are immediately harvested and planted on prepared soil within 2-3 days. In parallel, after cutting the stems, the underground cassava tubers are pulled out completely. If the bushes are left for the next year, then 2-3 tubers are dug up and cut, leaving the rest for further growth.
Bookmark cassava tubers for storage
After digging, raw tubers are stored for only 2-3 days and become unusable. Therefore, the cassava tubers immediately after harvesting are cleaned of the surface crust, cut into small pieces and dried in the open sun for 3-6 days. This semi-finished product is stored for a long time.
To obtain a food product (flour, cereals), tubers are soaked for 3-4 days in water, cleaned to the core, crushed and dried to a moisture content of 8-10% by weight. Dry material is ground to the desired state (flour, cereal) and used as intended.