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Carrot & Pumpkin Breakfast Bars

Breakfast bars on a plate

My fall farm harvest inspired this recipe for healthy carrot & pumpkin breakfast bars. Shredded carrots and shredded coconut, along with homemade cassava flour, homegrown squash, and home grown raw macadamia nuts.

Jump to Recipe

Because it’s October and I made these tandem with healthy winter squash cheesecake, I went for the pumpkin spice theme. And, to be honest, I started out trying to make muffins. But after I made the batter, I noticed my muffin pan was rusted. All the better because my muffins are usually more like dense hearty bars anyways.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and/or gather inspiration for your own creations. OF course, you can use fresh ingredients, or canned squash, skip the cassava flour and use another favorite flour.

Breakfast Bars in Tuperware

Carrot and Pumpkin Breakfast Bars

katiestropicalkitchen
This recipe is inspired by my "fall" harvest on our Big Island farm. Tropical winter squash (curcubita moshata), garden carrots, fresh shredded coconuts, and freshly harvested raw macadamia nuts. I even used our homemade cassava flour.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Resting time 1 hr
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Tropical
Servings 15

Equipment

  • Your choice of mixer below
  • Kitchen Aid standup mixer
  • Immersion blender
  • Hand mixer
  • Large baking pan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups pumpkin or squash puree
  • 2/3 cups coconut oil
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups quick oats
  • 1 3/4 cups cassava flour
  • 1/2 cup almond milk unsweetened
  • 1 ½ cups shredded carrots
  • 1 ½ cups shredded fresh coconut
  • optional crushed macadamia nuts
  • optional raisins

Instructions
 

Blend "wet ingredients"

  • Using a blender, standup mixer, hand mixer or immersion blender mix squash, coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs, salt, spices, baking powders and baking soda until uniformly blended.

Fold in remaining ingredients

  • Fold in oats and cassava flour
  • Fold in carrots and shredded coconut
  • Add optional nuts and raisen (chopped figs, dates, etc).

Bake in preheated oven

  • Bake in preheated oven at 375° F in large baking pan for 35-40 minutes
  • They are done when you smell them, the top starts to lightly brown. They will be a little soft inside. Cool on wire rack and refridgerate some, share some and vaccum seal some for later!
Keyword Cassava, coconut, macadamia nuts
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Healthy Winter Squash Cheesecake

Why is this winter squash cheesecake recipe healthy?

Ok – let’s cut right to the chase. This healthy winter squash cheesecake recipe, is labeled as such on my page because I use a combination of coconut oil and butter in the crust. (I know butter is good for you but it’s hard for me to use 6 tablespoons of it at once in a recipe, plus I have way more coconut oil than butter in my house).

I also use maple syrup instead of refined sugar. Maple syrup is much more rich in essential minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese) than sugar. And! coincidentally, I have much more maple syrup in my house than sugar (which is pretty much reserved for kombucha making at this point).

Lastly, this winter squash cheesecake recipe uses about 3/4 as much squash as cream cheese, compared to cheesecakes that are close to 100% cheese. Winter squash is an original super food, complete with carotenoids (like your favorite Beta-carotene), protein, Vitamin C & B6, fiber, magnesium and potassium. If I had had access to hippie graham crackers while making it I would have used those instead of Honey Maid – but hey! at least they boast no high fructose corn syrup. Maybe next time I’ll make my own cookies for a crust… (haha we will see).

ingredients for winter squash cheesecake

What if I don’t have a spring form pan?

Perfect! Then this recipe is for you. You can make cheesecake in any pan that has walls that you can safely put in the oven. I have A LOT of kitchen gadgets, but being sorta dairy and gluten sensitive, I still haven’t added in spring form pans (or even cake pans!) to my arsenal here in Hawai’i. But, Black Friday is just around the corner so maybe I’ll re-up my kitchen supplies.

Anyways, this recipe is pretty much cut in half from your traditional cheesecake recipe (you know, the thick slices with 2 inches above the crust that make you wonder why you ate dinner before dessert?) Well, in this recipe the slices are just as wide but they’re not as tall because I use a pie baking dish. I’ll admit I had a little extra filling (about 1/2 cup or so) so I made a little more crust and made an extra mini cheesecake so we could try it before I gave it to my friend for her birthday to share with her family. (Covid-era! and we cannot have her over for dinner, blow candles out!, etc.)

What is tropical winter squash?

Curcubita moschata grown on our farm.

The term tropical winter squash is not scientific. Really I mean Curcubita moschata, a species of winter squash that is more tolerant of heat and humidity, and pests than C. maxima or C. pepo Which of course explains why we can pretty much grow it here year round in Hawai’i as long as we give it the ideal circumstances for producing fruit.

The curcubita moschata varieties we like most have orange skin on the outside, are about small – medium and more oblong than round. This one pictured was the only one we’ve harvested from the farm this summer. I got the seeds to plant it from a winter squash we found at the farmers market that had my favorite characteristics mentions about. It is obvious but worth nothing – that this winter squash cheesecake shares a lot of similarities with its cousin pumpkin cheesecake.

Let’s jump to the cheese

Really I made this recipe because no other recipes combined everything I WANTED to use in a cheesecake recipe. So I mulled through many recipes, tried to get an idea of the ratios, portions, and just general vibe – until I sat down to write this one up. So if you enjoy a little bit of the healthy cooking but still want to keep things a bit “traditional” – I hope you find this recipes gives you a baseline for the possibilities out there.

This was actually the first cheesecake I’ve ever made by myself. Recently, I supervised an 11 year old who had a dream of making strawberry cheesecake. We used this recipe from Delish. It came out excellent to her standards – but I did learn a few things about how to be more specific in writing the recipe, how to crush the graham crackers (in a food processor not by hand!), and how much batter would fill the pan appropriately. For this winter squash cheesecale recipe I also based my proportions around the Delish recipe a bit.

If you have a lot of winter squash to use, you may also like my ginger & squash beef stew recipe, my winter squash bisque recipe, coconut, red pepper and squash soup, OR my farm fresh breakfast bars recipe (coming soon!).

Tropical Winter Squash Cheesecake

This "healthy" recipe is for a small cheesecake (that has about 3/4 of a inch of filling) – I made in a pie pan but cake pans would work too if you're not worries about presentation. I use more coconut oil than butter in the crust, maple syrup instead of sugar, and of course, part of the filling is homegrown tropical winter squash.
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Resting time 4 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 15 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 395 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

For the crust

  • 9 whole graham crackers about 1 package of the Honey Crisp (or most standard packages).
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the filling

  • 12 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup winter squash puree
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup+ maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp flour (optional – I did this just incase the squash and maple syrup loosened the batter too much)

Instructions
 

For the crust

  • Melt butter and coconut oil
  • Break up the crackers roughly and add them to your food processor and pulse until mostly chopped
  • Add coconut oil, butter, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon and pulse until combined.
  • Press into the bottom of the dish your are using.

For the squash cheesecake filling

  • Beat the cream cheese, sour cream and maple syrup until combined
  • Add the squash and beat until thoroughly mixed
  • Add the eggs and spices and mix until mixture looks fluffy
  • Finally add tablespoon of flour and mix just a little more.
  • Pour over crust until just barely to the top of your pie pan (or use up all of it if you are using spring form or cake pan.
  • Baking in an oven preheated to 325°F for 30-40 minutes until all but the very center is cooked (the center should be a little jiggly).
  • Turn off the oven and leave the door slightly ajar for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Finish cooling in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or over night.
  • Top with pretty garnishes! (chopped nuts, caramelized chopped nuts, toasted coconut, cinnamon, whipped cream etc.)

Nutrition

Serving: 8slicesCalories: 395kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 6gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 317mgPotassium: 99mgFiber: 1gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 350IUVitamin C: 0mgCalcium: 310mgIron: 1.62mg
Keyword Squash
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Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage

This is gonna be a quickie post – because the hardest part about this Sweet and Sour Red cabbage recipe is growing the cabbage. It takes MONTHS! But when they finally are ready they are a glorious dark purple. So why do they call it red cabbage??!

But seriously, I fell in love with German red cabbage side dish while in germany in my early 20s. And have never forgotten how satisfying it is. This summer we were lucky enough to successfully grow many many red cabbages. They have an excellent shelf life. I always mean to steam or cook them some other way (as my husband prefers) but really they don’t ever make it to another culinary treat because I am obsessed with this dish. I can eat an entire bowl of it.

Enjoy this simple recipe. You can tweak by adding a different kind of sweetener, or by adding more. I keep it really light to encourage my husband to eat it because he dislikes sugary things.

Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage

This recipe is similar to German Cabbage, except it is stripped down to make it a bit healthier, less sweet, and with less spices. But it is elegantly delicious!
0 from 0 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Side Dish
Cuisine German
Servings 8 cups
Calories 139 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • This recipe is very simple. Prepare all ingredients. Add to medium/large pot.
  • Bring to boil (this happens quickly because it has little liquid)
  • Then bring to simmer for about 2 hours stirring a few times during the cooking.
  • Enjoy warm or cool as a side dish or addition to other recipes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 139kcalCarbohydrates: 34gProtein: 4gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0gMonounsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 80mgPotassium: 732mgFiber: 6gSugar: 13gVitamin C: 243mgCalcium: 160mgIron: 1.82mg
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Is Chempedak (Artocarpus integer) even better than jackfruit?

Latin name and family:

Chempedak, cempedak is Artocarpus Integer and has many synonyms: (syn.: Artocarpus champeden, Artocarpus integrifolius). It is in the Moraceae family, which also belong to our friends Breadfruit, Breadnut, add more here.

It seems like in English we have a hard time deciding what to call it and how to spell it. Here’s a few similar spellings: Chempedak, Cempedak, Campedak, Champedak, Artocarpus champeden, Chempedak Utan, tjampedak.

  • Indonesia: chempedak, campedak (Malay), baroh (Lingga).
  • Malaysia: chempedak (cultivated), bankong (wild), baroh (Johor).
  • Burma: sonekadat
    Thailand: champada.

Characteristics of the fruit:

Chempedak looks like jackfruit but it has less spiky smoother skin and it is more cylindrical. The fruits may vary in skin color from green when they are young to yellow or orange as they mature. There are little hexagonal patterns in the small protrusions. The flesh casing (aril) is similar to jackfruit. There is a reddish or yellowish fleshy pod that surrounds each large seed. There may be anywhere from 15-400 seeds depending on the specific cultivar (PROSEA, 2016) .

Unlike, jackfruit the flesh is softer. However, the Cheena (Jackfruit x Champadek) is crunchier. The Cheena is the most widely known cross between a jackfruit and a champedak and has smaller fruits than their parents with a pleasant flavor. The fruit can measure up to 1 and ½ feet (45 cm) long and can weigh as much as 13.3 pounds (6 kg). Its fruity flesh is covered in a green, yellow or orange brown skin that smoother than a jackfruit.

How to use chempedak fruit

The flavor is complex. My husband describes it as having a taste similar to mango or durian. Other accounts compare it to banana, pineapple,  honey and nectar. Compared to jackfruit, the chempedak is sweeter. When they are ripe they are more aromatic than jackfruit, and almost as aromatic as durian.

Chempedak used as a vegetable

Like the jackfruit, chempedak can be harvested green or immature and used as a cooked vegetable. It should be treated similarly to jackfruit. It is a little bit of work to cut open the fruit and separate the flesh but it is well worth it for culinary diversity. Here is an article I wrote on how to use green jackfruit from the tree to the veggie dish. 

Alternatively, the fuzzy or hairy leaves are also used in cooking.  Traditionally, the fuzzy leaves were used as a meat tenderizer (Z. Siti Balqis & A Rosma, 2011). And other accounts report the use of their immature leaves as a green in cooking.

Chempedek seeds

The artocarpus integer seeds make up almost 20% of the fresh fruit weight, so luckily they are edible!  Another plus is that Chempedak seeds are easier to process than jackfruit because their seed coat is thinner and digestible. The seeds are starchy and taste somewhat nutty. They can can be cooked, dried and turned into flour which can be a nutritious additive or partial flour replacement (Aziah et. al 2011). Or you can boiled them  (think fingerling potatoes) smoother them in a tasty sauce. In the past I have make veggie burgers out of jackfruit seeds.

Chempedak has many culinary applications. It is eaten fresh when it is ripe, fried with flour to make fritters. It can also be made into a pudding.

Harvesting & Storage

The fruit can mature in 3 months or more. You’ll want to harvest ripe fruit when you see changes in the skin color and when the stem starts to yellow. The stem should also break easily. After harvest they may be further ripened. If you store in a cool place you will extend the shelf life.

Artocarpus integer

If you are harvesting the chempedak ripe, then there should be no latex in the skin. However, if you are harvesting it green for use as a vegetable in cooking, you should try mess-preventative methods like jackfruit.

In most cases the harvesting season lasts about 6 weeks and closer to the Equator you may see two seasons.

Other uses:

Artocarpus integer is cultivated for fruit especially in Jamaica and Kenya. But it has several other uses, most notably as lumber. It’s wood is strong as teak, and suitable for some construction projects. Ropes can be made from the bark. And the yellow extract of the heartwood can be used in coloring dyes, most notably for clothes. It is also good for firewood because it has moisture-free hardwood.

Growing information

It is native to Southeast Asia and thrives in the lowland, humid tropics. It is a fast growing evergreen tree that can reach up to 80 feet tall (24 meters).

This tree can will do well at elevations up to 1,500 feet (450 meters) but have a harder time in elevations between 1,500 feet and 4,000 feet (1,200 meters).

The trees are monoecious (they have both male and female flowers). There is some scientific certainty that they are pollinated by gall midges that feed on fungus present on the male flowers (Sakia et al. 2000). But,  Orwa C et al. (2009) more broadly report that insects visit the male flowers in the night.

Growing tips for Artocarpus integer:

Once the tree is a few feet tall make sure it gets plenty of sun. Consider support plants like gliricidia which will provide some shade at first and then can be cut back as the chempedak tree matures. Gliricidia will also feeds the young tree with nitrogen.

These are not drought tolerant trees. They need consistent rainfall throughout the year, with at least a minimum mean rainfall of 50 inches (1,270 mm). Otherwise, regular irrigation is recommended.

Cempedak seeds are recalcitrant and should be planted from fully mature fruits and sown as soon as possible. Recorded germination rates are around 75%. Seedlings start bearing fruit after 3-6 years. rafting is a common technique for chempedak and will result in smaller trees and fruit set in 2-4 years. The seeds are relatively true to their parents so less cultivated varieties exist than other exotic fruits. Usually scionwood is gathered from reliable parent trees in the local area.

It is also possible to graft champadek on to jackfruit rootstock, possibly providing a hardier plant. Scion wood should mature but relative in size to the rootstock. Clefts grafts onto young rootstock seedlings (3-5 weeks). Grafted plants will needs a humidity bag and shade for the first several weeks.

In most cases the tree bears most of its fruit on the large branches and trunk. These are large trees and some farmers recommend pruning for ease of harvest. This is best done during wet warm seasons.

They are prone to Rhizopus rot like jackfruit. Prune trees to keep them well venitaled, do not allow water to pool and make sure you remove diseased fruits from the tree and surrounding area as the fungus will persist and re-infest the developing fruits.

Resources:

P.C.M. Jansen. Artocarpus integer (PROSEA). (2016, May 12). PlantUse English, . Retrieved 04:51, February 4, 2019 from https://uses.plantnet-project.org/e/index.php?title=Artocarpus_integer_(PROSEA)&oldid=222495.

Orwa C, A Mutua, Kindt R , Jamnadass R, S Anthony. 2009 Agroforestree Database:a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0 (http://www.worldagroforestry.org/sites/treedbs/treedatabases.asp).

Sakai, S. , Kato, M. and Nagamasu, H. (2000), Artocarpus (Moraceae)–gall midge pollination mutualism mediated by a male‐flower parasitic fungus . Am. J. Bot., 87: 440-445. doi:10.2307/2656640

Mônica M. de Almeida Lopes, Kellina O. de Souza, Ebenezer de Oliveira Silva,
Cempedak—Artocarpus champeden, Exotic Fruits, Academic Press, 2018, Pages 121-127, ISBN 9780128031384, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-803138-4.00017-4.

Z. Siti Balqis, A. Rosma, Artocarpus integer leaf protease: Purification and characterisation, Food Chemistry, Volume 129, Issue 4, 2011, Pages 1523-1529,
ISSN 0308-8146,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2011.05.135.
(http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814611008387)

Noor Aziah, Abdul Aziz, Mardiana Ahamad Zabidi, Flour and Breads and their Fortification in Health and Disease Prevention, Chapter 33 – Partial Substitution of Wheat Flour with Chempedak (Artocarpus integer) Seed Flour in Bread, Academic Press, 2011, Pages 365-374, ISBN 9780123808868,
https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-380886-8.10033-9.

David K. Chandlee. February 2006. Sub-Tropical Fruit Club of Qld Inc. http://stfc.org.au/chempedak-artocarpus-integer

Rhizopus Rot of Jackfruit. Scot Nelson CTAhR. Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences. Plant Disease July 2005 PD- 29 https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/PD-29.pdf

Practical tips growing Cempedak. Tropical Fruit Forum. http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=2432.0. Accessed on Feb 3rd 2019.

Exotic Fruit: Southeast Asian Cempedak
By Mark Wiens. https://migrationology.com/exotic-fruit-southeast-asian-cempedak/    Accessed on Feb 3rd 2019.

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How to process macadamia nuts at home

We are super lucky to have such an abundant fruit farm – but MAN! it is a lot of work to figure out how when to harvest, how to process and how to store the large variety of fruit we have. I’m writing this how-to guide on processing macadamia nuts at home as I’m dealing with my second annual harvest from a tree that was planted on the farm by the previous owners. It just started to produce last year (my 6th year here). So I’m guessing our tree is about 13 years old now. Another fun fact about mac nut trees, they self pollinate (almost all varieties at least), so you only need one to get a good fruit set.

Unlike many of my tropical culinary projects, this one may actually be worth the time considering how much macadamia nuts cost in the stores, even in Hawaii. Cassava flour on the other hand… that DYI is a labor of love. For me macadamia nut season is a time when I get to cozy up in the kitchen, put on my new favorite Spanish-Language series and crack nuts all night long.

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How to process macadamia nuts at home

Course: Ingredient preparation
Keyword: macadamia nuts
Author: katiestropicalkitchen

Equipment

Materials

  • freshly havested macadamia nuts

Instructions

Harvesting Macadamia Nuts

  • Your macadamia nuts will drop from the tree when they are ready to harvest.
  • For ease in harvesting, it is good to mow around the tree on the highest setting regularly. Or, if your tree is an a shadded area with a lot of leaf drop, you can use a leaf blower to seperate the leaves from the shells.
  • I like to harvest them from the ground every 2-3 days, but you can let them sit as long as a week.

Husking the macadamia nuts

  • It is important to husk the macadamia nuts soon after harvesting them about 24 hours. This is because if left in their shell with poor oxygen flow, it will cause mold and make the husks harder to remove, increasing processing time. But, if more time goes by, you can still harvest, remove the half cracked husks, and we like to recommend a thorough cleaning of any mold in warm water first and then food grade hydrogen peroxide.
  • To husk them, I use my macadamia nut cracker. It usually takes one or 2 cracks to remove the husks. Place them on your drying racks.

Drying the macadamia nuts

  • If you have ever tried cracking a mac nut right away you will notice they stick to the shell and they sort of taste like coconut. To get that fatty macadamia nut you crave, you need to reduce the initial moisture content of the macadamia by airdrying it for 2-3 weeks. This can be done in a place that is out of direct sunlight and gets decent airflow. I like to dry ours on our screened in porches. I have the best results using trays with holes on the bottom. Specifically, I use trays from a previous dehydrator we had that broke. They are perfect for enhancing airflow and containing the nuts. I use a china marker to date the trays for easy tracking. Every few days I roll them around a little to get airflow to the different sides.
  • After the initial air drying, you will notice the nuts are more easily removed from the shell but parts still stick. You will also notice a change in color. Pictured to the bottom are mac nuts that have been air-dried about 3 weeks versus the picture on the top only a few days. Now, you need to dry them further at a higher temperature. This is best done in your dehydrator on a low "nut" setting of about 104° F for about 2 days.
    I find my Ivation dehydrator is actually perfect for this. The nuts fit perfecting into the wire mesh drying sheets. If you have extra space – evenly space out the trays so all the nuts get a lots of air.
    About 2 times a day it is good to roll them around a little to change their position. After 2 days you can increase the temperature to 130-150° F and check them every couple hours until the shell is very brittle and cracks easily. When the mac nut is perfectly done you can hear it rattle around inside the shell.
  • If you do not have a dehydrator, you can also use your oven on the lowest setting (mine is 170° F). But they will dry much quicker, which is not necessarily better. If they dry too quick, they may dry unevenly, change color, and they are prone to getting a brown, tough spot in the middle of the nut. This is the case especially when they are roasted and can result in a less desirable taste.

Cracking & storing the macadamia nuts

  • Once they are uniformly dry, cozy up and start the final cracking.
  • The raw macadamia nuts can be kept in an air tight container, but they are best stored in the fridge or freezer. You will also benefit from vacuum sealing them for prolonged life.

Roasting the macadamia nuts

  • You can roast them in the oven on about 275° F for 20-30 minutes, best done on wire mesh baking sheets (like the ones in my dehydrator). If you want them salted toss them in a small amount of oil and salt.

Notes

Resources:
http://www.macnuts.org/growpage.htm
 
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How to make homemade cassava flour (yucca flour)

Cassava is an excellent starch for the tropical diet. And making homemade cassava flour is a great way to store your crop with minimal space. My husband has been trying to grow cassava on our tropical fruit farm on Big Island for 6 years. But, every time the cassava is ready to harvest the wild boars come dig it up and eat it. Finally, we started planting cassava in our large garden protected by electric netting. This is the first year we have had multiple harvests. It takes a minimum of 6-7 months for smaller roots and for some varieties up to 24 months to harvest. Cassava grows readily from cuttings. If you are in Hawaiʻi and are interested in cassava cuttings, contact me or visit our farm website ainaexotics.com.

How to reduce cyanide in raw cassava

Most how-to recipes for homemade cassava flour tell you to cook cassava pieces first and then grate them. I think this is quite silly. The authors may be worried about cyanogenic compounds (cyanide) in cassava. But if you ever cooked cassava you know it becomes starchy and sticky, and very hard to grate.

There several methods to reduce the cyanogenic compounds (cyanide) in cassava. If you eat these compounds raw they have a toxic effect. There are also varieties with low cyanogenic compounds. One method of reduction is cooking by boiling, steaming or baking. Soaking the cassava in water also reduces the cyanide. Industrial producers of cassava flour rely on the drying and milling process to reduce cyanide levels. In the more traditional version of cassava flour, they ferment the grated cassava to reduce it’s toxicity, and then dry.

Gari – a fermented cassava flour / granules

There is similar product to milled cassava flour, called Gari. Gari is staple in West Africa, in particular Nigeria which is the leading industrial producer of cassava flour. There, they grate Gari and ferment it for 3-7 days. Then they roast it and sift it into cassava granules. Their goal is to achieve a slightly fermented and sour taste while assuring that the cyanogenic compounds are decreased. West Africans use Gari as a side dish, a thickener, and as an ingredient on other dishes, desserts and more.

My method for making homemade cassava flour

This tutorial gives you a few extra steps to reduce the cyanogenic compounds in case you would like to be on the safer side. These steps are optional but if you have the time, they can enhance the quality of the flour. Basically, I soak the peeled cassava in water and hang/slightly fermenting it overnight or up to 24 hours before drying. As I am writing this I have 13 pounds of shredded cassava that have been hanging from my bathtub curtain rod for 24 hours. I actually find the smell really pleasing, sort of nutty.

This is basically a 2-3 day process depending on how much cassava you are processing, if you decide to ferment (and length of ferment) and what time in the day you start. I started with probably 20 pounds of freshly harvested yucca. It took me about and 1 1/2 to peel, core and grate the cassava. Then I hung the cassava in a mesh bag for 24 hours. My drying process took 8-10 hours and by that time it was bed time. Consequently, I kept the pilot light of my oven on to prevent it from re-hydrating or molding, and I “milled” it the next day.

Here is a few more tips:

You are better off processing cassava fresh, within 2-3 days of harvesting. I processed some of the left over cassava on day 4 and there was noticeable deterioration of the root, it started to become streaked, sort of blue and in some cases there was evidence of rot. Also, the ends of the roots which weren’t tapered and clean cut had started to mold.

You can peel and wash and leave in soaked water for a few days in the fridge if you are not ready to deal with the grating or processing.

The knife pictured below is hardly big enough to process really thick roots. For those I use a really heavy duty butchers knife / cleaver.

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How to make homemade cassava flour

This step-by-step tutorial describes how to safely make cassava flour in your own home using a food processor and your oven or dehydrator.
Prep Time3 hrs
Total Time3 d
Course: Ingredient preparation
Keyword: Cassava, Flour, Gluten-free flour, Yucca
Author: katiestropicalkitchen

Materials

  • about 20 pounds Freshly harvested cassava root

Instructions

Peel, wash and core the cassava

  • With a sharp butchers knife, cut the cassava into pieces about 2 inches long (this will make it easier to peel and core. If your cassava if freshly harvested you can wash the cassava before you cut it to avoid dirt all over your counter, but I usually skip this step and wash it after peeling.
  • Using a smaller knife like a paring knife, make a deep incision in the thick peel of the piece, working around the cassava remove the peel (it's pretty easy).
  • Wash the cassava and place it in a bowl/pot of cool water. This will aid in reducing the toxic compounds, while you prepare the remaining cassava
  • If your cassava is larger than 1 ½ diameter it will probably have a woody core. To ensure your end product is digestable, it is best to take action to remove this. Simply cut the 2 inch piece into 4 pieces and slice a "triangle" off of each where you see the cassava sort of change color and texture, almost like a ring of a tree inside.

Grate and ferment the cassava

  • Grate your cassava in a food processor with the grater attachment.
  • Is you choose to, you can ferment the cassava at this stage to get a slightly nutty and more pronounced flavor. Using a mesh bag, hang the cassava for 5 – 24 hours, moving it around every once in a while to aerate the surface areas.

Dry Cassava

  • If you are using your oven, set it to the lowest temperature (mine goes to 170° F) I Spread the cassava out in a thin layer on baking sheets and prop a spoon in the door to let air escape (or use lever that is meant for broil). Depending on how thin the layer is you may need to mix the shreds every few hours. Should be done in 5-10 hours depending on thickness*
  • If you are using a dehydrator, place on trays in a thin layer and dehydrate on the highest setting ~159° F. For even results you should rotate the trays 1-2 times. The top trays dry quicker than the bottom.**

Mill the cassava shreds

  • If you have a small batch you can try putting directly into your high speed blender, pulse and shake it up every few pulses to achieve an even texture
  • For larger batches I recommend, using your food processor to chop the shreds into finer particles and then process in your blender.
  • To mill in your blender, fill the blender 1/3 full and pulse the first few times before putting on high speed for about 30 seconds. Make sure to have your counters clean without clutter because the flour particles will get everywhere when you open the blender.
  • At this stage there still may be gritter particles. You can sift them out now or sift them out according to the recipe you use. I've made bread with 1/4 homemade cassava flour and have used the flour in veggie burgers and never noticed the gritty parts. But If I was making something from just the flour I would probably sift out the grits and re-blend. For best result, in a tropical climate store in airtight bag in the fridge or freezer.

Notes

*The last batch I did was 13# of shredded cassava. It took using both my dehydrator and my oven full in relatively thick layers (1/2 inch). The oven cassava was done after 7 hours. You can subtract time from this if you are doing a smaller batch with thinner layers. Be aware if you over cook the cassava you will be roasting it. Which may have a nice flavor depending on what you plan to use it for.
**For my dehydrator -again my layers were thick – and it took about 10 hours after mixing up the shreds a little and rotating the trays).

More Resources:

http://www.cassavabiz.org/postharvest/Gari01.htm
https://permaculture.com.au/making-cassava-flour/


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How to prepare fresh cassava or yucca root

Cassava or also known as Yuca or Yucca is an excellent root vegetables that grows easily in the tropics. The latin name is Manihot esculenta, and it is in the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family). Throughout the tropics it is grown for its use as a starch vegetable, cassava flour/tapioca starch, breads, tapioca, and it is also distilled into an alcoholic beverage.

As I write this article on how to cook fresh cassava – I am actually experimenting with it for my first time. I’ve lived on my husband’s farm on the Big Island now for 6 years but for the first several years any time our cassava crop was ready the wild boar population on our farm would devastate them. Finally, after putting a solar electric sheep netting farm around our huge garden we decided to dedicate some space to planting cassava. We planted it last spring and now the roots are huge!

Cassava has a compound called cyanogenic glycosides which are toxic. Cooking reduces it to safe levels. Cooking water should be discarded after cooking.

Cassava is rich in complex carbohydrates, iron, and fiber and is a healthy unprocessed food choice to incorporate into a balanced diet. It is also renowned for it’s effect on fertility and is thought to increase or cause hyperovulation, in turn increasing likelihood of twins. There is actually an entire industry based around cassava root as a fertility supplement although peer reviewed scientific articles seem harder to come by.

To prepare the fresh cassava root…

  1. Using a sharp butchers knife, cut off the ends of the root to make an even cut.
  2. Then, cut into about 2 inch size chunks, about as long as your fingers.
  3. With a pairing knife make an incision in the thick skin and remove peel to expose just the white interior of the root.
  4. And then cut in half twice, making four pieces as pictured below. Cassava has a hard, fibrous core. If the diameter is about a big as your fist, you’re going to want to consider cutting out the core as pictured below. You can also just cook it first and remove core later.
  5. You can cook cassava a few ways:
  6. You can steam, boil, or pressure cook cassava. After doing the inital cooking you can them do a shallow pan fry to make yucca fries, or use your air fryer.

If you want to get more creative try using cassava as a starch in a veggie burger recipe, like my Cassava Quinoa Burgers. I also use them as a starch in various pureed soups like a green bean and cassava soup, pumpkin and casssava soup, etc. I’ve even used them in place of potatoes in my breakfast fritattas.

https://permaculture.com.au/making-cassava-flour/

https://www.dominicancooking.com/19720-how-to-make-cativia-cassava-flour.html

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Corn Chowder with Red Pepper & Thyme

I was recently inspired to make this corn chowder recipe because we actually had milk in the house. Both my husband and I aren’t really milk consumers. We used to buy raw milk from a farmer here but even then we had a hard time getting through it all. Partially, because I’m sort of lactose intolerant. But I recently bought some to make ice cream from scratch with my friend’s children – and now am struggling to use up the rest of this ½ gallon of organic whole milk. Yesterday, I made cornbread using my healthy cornbread recipe. Today… chowder. I wish we had fresh corn but luckily our nearby country store had organic canned corn. And luckily we could still make it our own by added fresh red pepper, garden fresh celery and our thyme.

I imagine this recipe is somewhat flexible. Do you feel like adding carrots? Go ahead! Don’t have red pepper? Use green pepper. Want to add some peas or green beans? LOL. Have fun and enjoy in good company!

Recipe for Corn Chowder with Red Pepper & Thyme

Yield: 4 servings
Equipment: Blender, Immersion Blender or Food Processor

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion chopped
2 potatoes chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
1 large red bell pepper chopped or equivalent (we use smaller ones that grow in our area about 3-4 of them)
fresh stick thyme – this is a thyme substitute that also grows well in the tropics but regular thyme can be used)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 ¼ cup whole milk
2 cups fresh corn or one 15 oz can of corn (non-GMO/Organic of course!)
2-3 tablespoons flour (optional – I also like to use tapioca starch as a gluten-free option)

Steps:

  1. Heat butter in pot over medium heat
  2. Sauté the red pepper, onion, potatoes and celery until onions are translucent
  3. Add broth and corn and simmer vegetables until tender
  4. Remove half of the brother and puree briefly with immersion blender, regular blender or food processor
  5. Replace broth in pan and add milk and thyme and heat (but not boiling)
  6. If you want a thick chowder – remove about a cup broth ones the milk has warmed up and slowly dissolve 2-3 tablespoons flour. Return this paste to the soup and stir.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  8. At this point if you’d like to bulk this recipe up at little feel free to add some cubed and browned sausages (we use chicken sausage) and even small noodles like elbows, orzo, etc.

If you are looking for a good blender to use I HIGHLY recommend BlendTech.

But, a really great tool for pureeing soups, making things like my beet brownies or even hummus or guacamole is an immersion blender – called by some people stick blenders. The one we have has lasted us over 10 years. But if I had to get a new one I’d probably spring for this cool looking set:

or get a simpler standard one like this…

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Quinoa Yucca Veggie Burgers

I made this recipe for quinoa yucca veggie burgers when we had an abundance of cassava root and an abundance of quinoa from our original covid-19 stock up on protein rush. This recipe is great for making veggie burgers in bulk and then freezing a few for future snacking.


Ingredients for Quinoa Yucca Vegetable Burgers

  • 5 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 onion
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh herbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 4 cups cooked and roughly chopped casssava
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt or to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • ½ cup or more gluten-free flour or not to coat

Steps for Quinoa Cassava Burgers:

1. Cook  the quinoa according to instructions 
2. Prepare and cook cassava
3. Meanwhile, chop onion, garlic, carrot, fresh herbs and sauté in pan until soft
4. In a food processor, blend cooked cassava, onion and herb sauté and egg and process until mostly smooth
5. Put cooked quinoa in large bowl and add cassava herb mixture from food processor mix well, season as desired
6. In a separate bowl add gluten-free flour or flour of choice. Place ⅓ cup mixture or so into bowl and form a ball, then squish into a patty
7. Then you can either pan fry, air fry, or bake your patties.
8. If your are using an air fryer I recommend 14 minutes brushed with coconut oil or sprayed with olive oil before and in the middle of cooking time before flipping 7 minutes into the cooking time
9. If you prefer to bake… bake at 425 and coat the pan in oil and brush the burgers in oil. You may then choose to flip halfway through baking at around 15 minutes.
10. If you are pan frying, they need about 3-5 minutes on each side to make sure the egg is cooked through. 

If you like this recipe you may like my….

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Pumpkin & Ginger Beef Stew

It has been a while since I have made this ginger beef stew for my hunny. For some reason I was re-inspired. Maybe it was the fresh shipment of Big Island Beef stew sent to my corner grocery store here in Pāpaʻaloa. I used to make this ginger & squash version of beef stew almost weekly for my hunny. My method is pretty dialed. I hope you find this recipe easy to follow. It is pretty forgiving. The most important part is that you cook the beef long enough. If you use tamari instead of soy sauce, and a gluten-free thickener this recipe is gluten-free and dairy free.

Ingredients for Pumpkin & Ginger Beef Stew

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound grass-fed beef stew meat
  • 3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced in whole, thin rounds
  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 1-2 inches thick ginger, peeled and chopped in big slices
  • about ½ cup dry red wine
  • ½ medium size tropical winter squash like Kabocha.
  • 2 potatoes, washed, skinned, quartered and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons organic soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • salt and pepper
  • about 2 tablespoons flour or thickener of your choice (I alternate with whatever is closest to reach – tapioca starch, cassava flour, rice flour)
  • fresh herbs of your choice – I use whatever I have growing which right now was rosemary, oregano, stick thyme, and parsley. I skipped the basil because the others were more potent spices when cooked down.
  • 2 Hawaiian chili peppers if desired

(optional: more veggies like red pepper, herbs, green beans, peas, etc).

Steps for Ginger Beef Stew with Pumpkin

  1. Sauté onions, garlic, and ginger until aromatic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot
  2. Add stew meat and stir consistently until the meat starts to brown
  3. Once browned and sticking to bottom, deglaze pot with ¼ cup red wine and scrap brown bits until pot is clean.
  4. add 6 cups of water bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and bring to simmer for about 2 hours, adding more water as need to keep the beef stew submerged.
  6. add the squash in one whole piece and potatoes quartered
  7. simmer another 30-45 minutes until beef begins to fall apart
  8. add 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  9. add salt and pepper to taste
  10. stir in fresh herbs and finish for another 10 minutes, making sure beef is tender and easy to cut in half with fork.
  11. Remove some of the broth and taste it for flavor. Then, stir in 1-2 tablespoons flour with a whisk into hot broth to dissolve.
  12. Add flour broth mixture to pot and allow to thicken for a few minutes before removing from heat.

Enjoy over a scoop of rice!

If you like this recipe maybe you will be interested in my Big Island Beef Shepards Pie.