There have been many debates as to the taro taste with many people linking this plant to the potato variety. I for one took a while before getting into this engaging conversation as I had not yet eaten taro corms.
The first time I laid my eyes on them, I was unsure of what to do with them. I also wondered what they were and I put off buying them until I could do some research on the same. But my curiosity got the better of me over time and questions such as ‘what does taro taste like’ were on my mind a lot. I eventually headed to the store to get this plant which many refer to as a ‘tropical potato,’ and I’m glad I took this step.
For all of you wondering whether or not you should get some taro corms the next time you go shopping, here is detailed information as to the taste, health benefits and preparation methods on the same. While not forgetting a detailed explanation! Enjoy.
What is taro?
Some people call it the potato of the tropics and this stems from its origin in Southeast Asia and India. The taro corm has a brown hue and is a stem part of the taro plant. For this reason, it resembles a root.
There are many parts of the world where the taro corm is a staple food, and these regions include but are not limited to China, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Africa. Here, people have mastered the art of preparing the taro corm such that it delights the palate.
If you are into roots and tubers and are looking to switch things up a little by introducing something new in your diet, I would suggest that you use this plant whose benefits are immense.
What does it look like?
Regarding appearance, taro corms are quite interesting, and they differ on the same. There are small taro corms that come in round shapes which look quite similar to what you would expect of turnips. Then there are the big and elongated taro corms that are also round, and they resemble yams to some extent. Both varieties are taro corms, and they boast of the same nutritional benefits.
They have a distinctive brown hue which is hard to miss. Additionally, they tend to have hairs on the surface, and this has earned them the name ‘potato’s hairy cousins.’ Some people think that their exteriors are not all that appealing, but I beg to differ.
Diversity is one of the things that make the world such a beautiful place, don’t you agree?
Once you cut the corms open, you will notice that the insides are remarkably white with a hint of purple. Some though tend to be creamy on the inside with some purple flecks here and there. With this description, you may get surprised that you have eaten these plants in the past without knowing so. However, the only way to be sure is by looking into the taste.
How does taro taste?
I have to say that this question is quite open and it will depend on many factors. Though all taro corms boast of similar nutritional benefits, the same does not hold when it comes to the taste as they vary. So one variety may be pleasing to your palate, and another not so much. It also depends on the method you use in preparing them.
However, some types tend to have a plain taste that is quite bland while some will have exciting taro flavors. People have varying opinions as to the taro root taste with some saying that there is a nutty taste that comes about upon cooking the corm. Others say that the taste is quite similar to what one would get from a sweet potato.
It all depends on the variety one consumes.
For me, I have tried many varieties in the past, and I can attest that they are very delicious. But the smaller ones tend to have more flavors as compared to the big ones. If you can get the purple-tinted varieties, then the better, as you are sure to enjoy them a lot. But that’s not to say that you cannot turn a bland taro corm into a great meal. All you need to do is to add lots of flavorful ingredients in the mix.
As for the texture, this can end up in lots of ways as I have found out in my many trials. You can prepare the corms the same way that you would other root vegetables, and in this way, the textures would be similar. Or you can choose to follow other preparation techniques and see how that works out.
The best ways to use Taro
One of the best things when it comes to taro is how versatile this plant is. One day, you are boiling it, and the next day you are roasting it, with each method having surprisingly amazing results. For this reason, be sure to experiment a lot as you are sure to find a process that will earn you compliments all year round.
If you want to be health conscious when preparing the corms, you can choose to steam or boil the taro. Or you could roast it to your preferred doneness and see how good that turns out.
In recent years, people have been seeking ways in which they can cut out gluten from their diet, especially those who have an intolerance to it. My son suffers from gluten sensitivity, and I use the corms to make flour which I then use to bake him goodies that he loves. Also, if you are looking for alternatives to yams, turnips, sweet potatoes and other plants in this category, you’ll be happy to know that you can use taro corms in their stead and the results will be as good.
You can also use taro corms in making beverages and puddings, and it is no secret that the taro tea taste is out of this world. It’s the kind of flavor you want to have in your tea parties and the type that will have people angling to have book club meetings in your house. Furthermore, you can mash cooked taro corms and use them in yogurt or smoothies and the taro milk taste results will wow you.
Other than in these ways, you can use the taro corms to make gluten-free noodles, chips, snacks, jellies and all different kinds of foods that you wish. The only limit, in this case, would be your imagination and with Google in play, there is no such thing as a shortage of creativity.
The Benefits – Are they healthy?
It could be that you are still on the fence as to whether you should indulge in taro corms or not. With these health benefits in tow, you are sure to get onboard the taro train in no time.
Do you lack fiber?
Well, taros are bursting with dietary fiber, alongside antioxidants, minerals and B vitamins. Owing to this rich nutritional profile, they help in reducing the risk of diabetes, improving digestion and cardiovascular health, protection from cramps and macular degeneration, as well as the promotion of immunity and healthy skin.
What’s more, taros have high levels of magnesium and calcium and will thus protect you from bone fragility. What more could one want from this food?
Storing and Cooking Taro
You do not have to store taro corms as you can find them in stores throughout the year. However, if you do not live in an area where you can readily get them, you can keep them in the fridge for up to three weeks. You could also lower the temperatures to help you enjoy them for up to five months.
The ideal storage conditions are in a cold, dark and airy place, which means that if you can get them fresh, you can enjoy them more. Storing them in a fridge leads to loss of flavor over time.
And now we are finally at the best part; the preparation! You need to be careful when handling raw taro corms as they tend to trigger reactions on the skin. Many people experience itching and rashes on coming into contact with taros, and it is better to wear gloves when cleaning them.
You can opt to get rid of the skin, but this will depend on your intended purpose. As you wash the taro, ensure that you remove any parts with blemishes as well as sprouts. It is important that you cook taro to complete doneness as failure to do so can lead to throat irritation upon consumption. You can start by boiling it to ensure that it cooks evenly before preparing it in another way to avoid such situations.
Now that you have an answer to ‘what does taro taste like,’ I hope that you can explore the different ways of cooking it as you take in its nutritional benefits. I do hope that I shed enough light on the matter. Thank you for reading!