Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Taíno vegetable root tuber: iautía (yautía)

Did You Know: Among the various indigenous vegetable root tubers cultivated traditionally by Taíno people, iautía (yautía) was, and remains a favorite. Similar to the Taíno staple of iuka (yuca), the iautía tuber has an elongated shape and the skin is bumpy, patchy, brown, and shaggy and it needs to be cooked before it is eaten as it contains some toxins. It has a nutty, earthy flavor with starchy consistency when prepared and its flesh can be white, yellow, pink or purplish.  In much of the Greater Antilles the tuber is still identified by its Taíno name – iautía - however; it is also sometimes called malanga, tannia, or cocoyam. In the Lesser Antilles iautía is also called dasheen and is often confused with the similar plant taro. The young, unfurled leaves of some varieties are sometimes boiled in soups or stews such as in Caribbean callaloo. The iautía’s botanical genus is Xanthosoma, it is high in carbohydrates, has some proteins, it is a good source of dietary fibers, high in Vitamins C and B, high in potassium, its starches are easily digestible, it has no cholesterol, and is free from gluten. – UCTP Taino News © 2013