What is Cassava?
Native to South America, cassava is a starchy root vegetable or tuber that is similar to potatoes and yams. Cassava flour is a naturally- nut, grain, and gluten-free flour derived from the cassava plant (also known as yuca, manioc).
Cassava vs Tapioca
Many confuse cassava flour with tapioca starch. They are similar in the sense that they both are made from the same plant. However, cassava flour is made from the whole root of the plant and is minimally processed while tapioca starch is made from the starchy liquid that is pressed from the cassava root pulp. This gives cassava flour properties that cannot be found in tapioca starch such as more dietary fiber.
Benefits of Cassava Flour?
Cassava flour is an instant solution for gluten-free formulation. It offers an advantage over other gluten-free flours because it can be used as a 1:1 substitute for wheat flour. It is similar to wheat flour both in flavor and texture and is a great source of carbohydrates. Cassava flour has a neutral flavor that is sometimes described as slightly nutty. It is allergen-friendly as it is vegan and contains no nut, soy, gluten, or grain, which makes it a good alternative for those on restricted diets or with gluten sensitivity. Cassava Flour is minimally processed and contains only one ingredient; ground cassava root. It is great for application in baking, snacks, and thickening soups and sauces. Another incredible advantage cassava flour has in baking applications is that it gives finished products a fluffy airy result, which other gluten-free flours fail to achieve.
Cassava is a sustainable plant that is extremely drought tolerant and can be grown in poor soil. It is one of the few crops that can be produced efficiently in marginal areas with unpredictable rainfall. The majority of the world’s supply of cassava is grown by smallholder farmers in developing countries.