Thu Nov 14 19:23:11 EST 1996


Depending on the variety (31), it takes 9 to 18 months from planting the
cassava until it is ready for harvest. Most varieties take 12 months to
mature. Cuttings from mature stems about 8 inches long are planted
horizontally in the ground 2 inches deep, and three feet apart. Rows are
also spaced approximately three feet from each other. Cassava is valued
as source of carbohydrate. It contains cyanide and should never be eaten

Cassava originated in Central and South America. It is grown in many
other parts of the world. In Malaysia this major crop is used both for
human and animal consumption. The roots are used for humans. The stems
and leaves (after de-toxing  the cyanide), are high in protein and
valued as cattle food.

I have seen cassava known as Yuca (you- ka) grown in many back yards in
Florida. Ask any old timer from  Tampa’s Ybor City, or West Tampa, how
and when to plant cassava? He could tell you when to harvest the root.
His wife would peel these roots, boil them, then season the yuca with
sautéed ground fresh garlic and oil. Roast pork, chopped onions on top
of black beans and white rice, yuca, and fried ripe plantains is one of
the favorite meals in Florida’s Latin neighborhoods. This is finished
off with a demitasse cup of strong expresso Cuban coffee. Next, the
famous hand rolled all natural tobacco cigar  finishes the ritual.

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