Taro (pronounced tawr-oh) is a vegetable of the root family and has such a rich and crazy history that it deserves all the credit it can get. It’s described as having a sweet vanilla, floral and potato-y taste, but these reports don’t do this exotic vegetable justice. Read the following list of fun facts about this mysterious veggie, and then try it for yourself.
1. It’s suggested that taro originated in South Central Asia, but slowly spread across the globe.
2. By 100 B.C. it was being grown in China and Egypt.
3. Taro is characterized by two distinct varieties based on its form: the dasheen and eddoe.
4. In ancient Hawaiian tales, taro is described as a child who grew into a plant and eventually helped create the human race.
5. Taro was once used as a medicine, due to its suggested healing powers.
6. Its starchy corms (swollen underground plant stem) and cormels comprise the edible content of this leafy, root vegetable.
7. Mere physical contact with the raw taro corm results in itchiness, and consumption of the raw corm will cause an itchy throat.
8. Taro plants usually require a considerable amount of moisture to grow, and thus taro thrives best in extremely wet or flooded conditions.
9. Taro leaves contain a high amount of protein and are usually boiled and mixed with condiments.
10. Geographically, the most widespread form of taro is the almighty taro chip.
11. Taro can be purchased in powder form, which is an ideal ingredient for sweet teas and smoothies.
Feeling inspired? Take a stab at these sweet taro recipes!