You may have heard of taro but are hesitant to try one since this root crop is foreign to you. In this case, you may also be asking yourself the question – what does taro taste like?
If you have not tried taro, you have come to the right place. This root crop sure has numerous benefits and it tastes good, too.
What is Taro?
Before we can describe the taste of taro, it is important to know first what taro is.
Taro is actually a root vegetable that is common in semi-tropical regions like South India, Oceania, and Africa. This root crop cannot be eaten raw because this root crop contains calcium oxalate, which is a chemical compound associated with the formation of kidney stones.
Just like potatoes, taros can be used as an ingredient in baked goods, desserts, and curries.
Taro comes in several varieties. In fact, you can find taro that is round, small, elongated and hairy. Also, the flesh of this root crop can vary in color. In fact, some come in pure white and others in ivory color with flecks of pale purple. The skin of this root crop, on the other hand, is furry and brown, which can sometimes irritate the skin.
When boiled, the flesh of taro can be slimy. However, when steamed or simmered, the flesh of this root crop becomes soft yet firm and dry.
What Does Taro Taste Like?
Many people who have tasted this root crop notes that its taste is mild and nutty. In fact, it also has a starchy flavor just like potatoes. Due to this flavor, this root crop is a popular ingredient in baking.
Since this root crop come in different varieties, each variety offers a distinct flavor. For instance, a larger variety of this root crop has a slightly meaty flavor. A smaller variety, on the other hand, has a sweeter flavor.
There are several ways on how you can cook taro.
You can cook taro through baking, boiling or steaming. Regardless of the method of cooking used, it is important to note that taro should be cooked well to avoid itchiness on your throat and mouth.
Cooking taro the proper way involves boiling the crop, draining the water then you will need to boil it again in fresh water or coconut cream.
Is Taro Good for Your Health?
Taro contains a wide array of nutrients and minerals that are good for your health. Also, Taro offers numerous health benefits. Here are some of them.
Promotes Heart Health
This root crop is a good source of potassium which can help reduce blood pressure. Also, taro can help relieve stress.
Taro is also good for your digestion, as this contains three times the amount of dietary fiber compared to potatoes.
Enhances Eye Health
Taro contains high amounts of antioxidants including beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin, which can enhance eye health. In fact, these antioxidants can prevent free radicals that can cause macular degeneration.
Improves Immune System
According to studies, taro is a good source of antioxidants along with Vitamins A and C. All of these elements can help boost your immune system. Also, these elements reduce free radicals.
Reduces the Risk of Developing Diabetes
Unlike potatoes, taro comes with low glycemic index, which means that this root crop will not increase your blood sugar levels. Ultimately, eating taro can reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Improves Skin Health
Taro contains high amounts of Vitamins A and E, which are both essential for skin health. Also, these vitamins can treat various skin conditions and boost faster cell turnover. In addition, this root crop can help reduce signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
Boosts Metabolism and Improve Energy
Taro contains folate and B vitamins which are both essential in boosting metabolism and improving energy.
Improves Thyroid Health and Prevents Anemia
Taro contains copper and zinc which can improve blood circulation, prevent anemia, and improve thyroid health.
Are there Risks of Eating Taro?
Taro contains high amounts of calories, which can actually be a problem if you are trying to lose weight. In fact, for every 100 grams of this root crop eaten, you consume about 112 calories.
If you are already overweight, you can still eat taro but you have to do it in moderation to prevent adding more pounds to your already excess weight.
Also, eating excessive amounts of taro has been linked to gout and kidney stones. This is due to the fact that this root crop actually contains calcium oxalate.
However, there are methods that can help reduce oxalates in this root crop. To do this, you have to steep this root crop in water overnight before cooking it the next day. Also, you can restrict absorption of calcium oxalate through eating taro with milk or other calcium containing foods.
Another risk of preparing or cooking taro is that its furry covering can actually irritate your skin. To prevent this from happening, you can wear gloves or apply cooking oil to your hands when you handle the root crop. Also, you have to make sure that you cook taro thoroughly to prevent any possibility of an allergic reaction.
The Bottom Line
Taro is definitely one of the most nutritious root crops. If you are considering eating one, you should carefully and meticulously prepare and cook this root crop to prevent any unnecessary reactions like it throat and skin itchiness.
Also, if you have not tasted one, you would definitely enjoy the taste of this root crop, as this has a mild and nutty flavor. In addition, if you are lucky enough, you might even taste the sweeter variety.
If you do not want to eat the root crop as it is, you can always order bubble teas, fries or chips because taro has already been incorporated in these recipes.