The cassava is a woody shrub that is cultivated as a crop for its edible, starchy roots. I’ve just learned that it is the third largest source of carbohydrates for human food in the world.

The cassava root looks like a piece of wood and is as hard as one too. On the outside it is rough and brown – inside it is white like chalk or slightly yellow. It can be 5-10cm in diameter and 50-80cm long.

It is very rich in starch, and contains significant amounts of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin C, but poor in protein and other nutrients.

Cassava is used in a great variety of dishes. The soft-boiled root has a delicate flavor and can replace potatoes. In the Caribbean, cassava is used in bammies, to make dumplings, in stews, or eaten roasted just to mention a few ways. Some of the islands have their own special ways of using it.

Tapioca is a flour made from cassava that can be used instead of wheat flour.