Latin name: Manihot esculenta
Vernacular name: Yuca, yuca amarillo, yuca amarga, Señorita. Many varieties exist.
Yuca (cassava) is made into a coarse flour that is called by the Portuguese name “fariña”. However, many native people in northeast Peru are unfamiliar with the making of fariña. Yuca is buried underground and submerged in floodwaters, where it will keep for months. The tubers are cooked and fermented with the aid of saliva into a popular beverage called “masato”. The tubers are eaten cooked in many different ways, including the “juane”form. The starch is pressed out and used for baking, and for making tapioca. The leaves are used mostly as a condiment in stuffings and foods. Yuca is used as fish bait and for animal feed. The more this native crop is researched, the more uses and varieties will probably be found.
Yields in this region are not as high as those found in parts of Asia or Africa, but planting densities are usually lower. Yellow yuca varieties grow slowly and do well even in the poorest soils. Yellow yucas can maintain quality while growing up to two years. It keeps very well after harvest, even if bruised. The white varieties usually mature in less than one year, contain more water, and must be harvested when ready or quality declines. White yuca does not keep well after harvesting, and can rot quickly when bruised. There are many methods for planting it. Rooty soil conditions must be avoided if the field was cut from forest. Rodents and peccaries are major pests of this crop.